Harry Ko is the 2022 De’Longhi Australian Brewers Cup Champion.
Sasa Sestic* placed runner up, and Hany Ezzat, both of Ona Coffee, placed third in the competition, which took place from 17 to 20 August at the Melbourne Meat Market in North Melbourne, Victoria.
As the national titleholder, Harry, who works with green bean importing company Bennetts,will now represent Australia in the World Brewers Cup, taking place from 26 to 30 September at the Melbourne International Coffee Expo.
“I can’t believe I’m the champion, finally,” Harry said post-win. “I was very emotional on stage. I had the same reaction when I won regionals, but it means a lot to me. Each year the competition is so strong. The level of talent this year was amazing.”
For his competition coffee, harry used the same coffee Anthony Douglas of Axil Coffee used for his winning Australian Barista Championship routine – a natural anaerobic coffee, produced from Nestor Lasso of Finca El Diviso in Colombia.
“It’s not really a high acidity nor floral coffee. It has a lot of strawberry, chocolate, and boozy notes. The flavour was bang on. I know a lot of beautiful Geishas and I taste a lot of beautiful coffees, but this coffee just came to me,” Harry said.
“My whole journey with this coffee was about how I treated it. At first, we thought it was a defected coffee but with the advance of technology in processing, roasting and brewing, it means we are understanding more about the components of coffee and we have the power to control its taste. I hand sorted the beans and roasted it separately, blended it, and made different contact times. I think we still have room to learn more about coffee and how we can control its flavour.”
Harry won the Australian Cup Tasters Championship in 2015 and 2016, and has been training in the Brewers Cup category for the past five years.
“I started making coffee back in Korea, and since I’ve been in Melbourne, I’ve learned so much about coffee, it’s cultural significance and how the city treats coffee. To be representing Australia at the Worlds in Melbourne – a huge coffee city – really means a lot to me,” Harry said.
“The Melbourne specialty coffee industry is insane. It’s a small industry but underneath we have a lot of respect for each other.”
To get ready for the competition next month, Harry says he’ll be focused on training and looks forward to inviting all his family and friends to watch him perform on the world stage.
“The judges loved the coffee and my concept, but I still need to improve before the worlds,” he said. “Thankfully I saved some of my competition coffee just in case I made it to Worlds.”
*In a statement from the Australian Specialty Coffee Association (ASCA), it says: “after a mistaken judging assessment, based on the misconception that used brewing devices accidentally had residue of additive substances, rankings for the 2022 De’Longhi Brewers Cup Championship have been updated. We apologise to Sasa Sestic, Hany Ezzat, Carlos Escobar and the Brewers Cup finalist competitors for any stress and confusion this may have caused.”
Opening image credit: The Australian Specialty Coffee Association