Jack Simpson of Axil Coffee places third in World Barista Championship

Jack Simpson World Barista Championship

Australian competitor Jack Simpson of Axil Coffee has earned third place in the 2023 World Barista Championship (WBC), which took place at World of Coffee from 22 to 24 June in Athens, Greece.

This was Jack’s first World Barista Championship experience after winning the Australian Barista Championship in May.

“I’m so proud that I had the chance to represent Australia, a dream of mine for such a long time. To be apart of the finalists was a privilege. I felt so supported from they whole Australian coffee community, not just baristas but everyone that loves coffee. I got involved in this community as I was inspired by the baristas in Australia and the whole community. I want to say a big thank you to everyone,” Jack tells BeanScene magazine from Athens.

Jack’s routine focused on the role of the barista in this ever-changing world, dividing his routine into the key pillars of innovation, refinement, and adaptation.

“I believe these are the key to driving our amazing industry forward,” Jack told the judges. “Our time today is heavily influenced by these three words and are deeply woven into every decision I’ve made and the coffees I’ll serve.”

In each of his courses, Jack used a natural new varietal called ombligon, thought to be a mutation of Caturra, thanks to producer Nestor Lasso of Finca El Diviso in Colombia.

Demonstrating innovation at origin, Nestor placed the cherries in polypropylene bio-reactors for 72 hours to ferment with musto and saccharomyces yeast. The cherries were then placed in open plastic bags for 60 hours to oxidise, which resulted in more flavour intensity, clarity and texture.

For his espresso, Jack described the tasting notes of red cherry, blood orange, and yellow, peach, with a medium weight, juicy texture, and lingering rich finish.

Jack’s espresso recipe consisted of 20 in, 45 out for 30 seconds.

To gently distribute his ground coffee in the portafilter, Jack used the AutoComb, a refinement of the Weiss Distribution Technique with a geared handle and 13 needles.

“By adapting to this method, it’s made [the process] faster, more efficient, and leaves me with a tastier cup of coffee,” Jack said in his presentation.

Jack also applied 50 hertz of vibration on a vibrating table to gently disperse his coffee particles vertically and horizontally before tamping his coffee. This helped to achieve a higher extraction yield, a more balanced espresso, and contributed to the juicy texture.

Axil Coffee Head Roaster Matt Crowley crafted the roast for Jack’s milk-based coffee. He used roasting software to slow down the drum speed to 50 revolutions per minute to maintain sweetness in the coffee. He made seven heat adjustments to articulate acidity, and airflow adjustments to maintain a steady declining rate of rise. Matt used a two minute and 20 second development time to help cut through the rich, and creamy milk.

For his milk course, Jack used a recipe of 22 grams in, 35 grams out in 28 seconds. He used Riverina Fresh milk, in which he presented a vacuum distillation method, a cross between cryodesiccation and freezed distillation. In this process, gentle heat is applied to frozen milk via vacuum pressure to remove 33 per cent water, leaving the important minerals behind. The result was a balanced milk with rich and cream texture.

Jack described the flavour profile as “boysenberry ice-cream and malted chocolate”.

For his signature drink, Jack create 10-milligrams of lacto fermented raspberry. To create this, he used 100-grams of raspberries, two per cent salt, and adjusted the environment to allow lactobacillus bacteria to grow over the four days the ingredients were stored.

He also used 100-grams of milk concentrate and five-millilitres of citric acid solution to create 10-grams of clarified milk. Finally, Jack used 100-milligrams of water and 10-grams of bergamot to create 10-grams of vacuum boiled bergamot tea. These ingredients were paired with four espresso shots and served at 10ºC for flavour clarity.

Jack described the tasting notes of guava, toffee apple, and dried apricot.

“We are constantly seeing new ideas and coffee reaching new heights,” Jack told the judges in his closing address. “The very best baristas are able to refine and adapt to these ideas, pushing the industry forward and to inspire others. And just as this competition has inspired me to innovate, refine and adapt, I hope that I have inspired someone else to do the same.”

Jack called time at 14 minutes and 28 seconds.

In Jack’s support team was mentor and Axil Coffee Founder David Makin, a two-time Australian Barista Champion; coach Anthony Douglas of Axil Coffee Roasters and the 2022 World Barista Champion; and Axil Coffee Head Roaster Matt Crowley.

To watch Jack’s full finals routine, click here.

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