For the second year running Hyunsuk “Harry” Ko from Dukes Coffee Roasters has won the Australian Specialty Coffee Association (ASCA) Huhtamaki Cup Tasters Championship.
The fast-paced packed-out ASCA competition followed Brewer’s Cup at Veneziano Coffee Roasters on 12 March, with fourteen Open Heat competitors taking on the four regional winners.
Western Region winner Michael Raffoul of Monastery Coffee came in second place in the competition. Open Heat competitor Frankie Shi of Tulip Shi placed third.
Harry represented Australia at World of Coffee in Gothenburg, Sweden last year, after taking a slow-cautious approach to correctly identifying the correct coffee.
“This year was very different,” says Harry. “Last year I went in a bit more confident. But knowing that this time I had to get through the Open Heats too – it felt like the god of luck visited me at Veneziano.”
Harry says this time around he was a little less focused on the competition aspect of training, and more focused on developing his pallet.
“Some people don’t worry too much about what they eat in the lead up to a competition, but for me, controlling my diet works,” Harry said. “Two months ago I cut out salt and pepper and began to limit my alcohol intake – I’ve been really strict for the past two weeks.”
With the 2016 World Cup Tasters Championship taking place in around two weeks time, Harry says watching his diet will be his focus.
“By taking a few dietry steps I’m better able to focus on taste and aroma – a clean tongue is important too,” he says. “VW trains me and he always says 100 per cent – that has always been the most impirtant thing. In the worlds slowing down and being cautious will still be my tactic.”
WCT will take place in conjunction with WCIGS and WLAT at Hotelex in Shanghai, China from 29 March – 1 April.
The Melbourne International Coffee Expo (MICE) will host the last of the national coffee competitions – the ASCA Australian Barista Championship from 17 – 19 March.