Jack Simpson of Axil Coffee wins Australian Barista Championship

2023 Vitasoy Australian Barista Champion

Jack Simpson of Axil Coffee has won the 2023 Vitasoy Australian Barista Championship, held at The Industrique in Coburg, Victoria from 8 to 12 May.

“It is an incredible honour to be crowned Australian Barista Champion. Anthony Douglas [of Axil Coffee] has been such an inspiration to me since being crowned World Barista Champion, so to be able to follow in his footsteps is a massive achievement. Matt Crowley [of Axil Coffee] was also a pivotal part of my success,” Jack says.

Danny Wilson of Ona Coffee was runner up, and Gabrel Tan of Veneziano Coffee Roasters placed third in his second year competing in the national championship.

“I feel so proud to have won the Australian Barista Championship. Although I get to be the one on stage, so many people put hours of their time to help me achieve this result, which I’m incredibly grateful for,” Jack says.

Jack, Head of Quality Control at Axil Coffee, spent months developing his routine. He credits his level of preparation for the win.

“Ever since I decided to compete when [the competitions] were announced, I’ve been working pretty much every day,” says Jack.

Jack’s performance focused on the role of the barista in the specialty coffee industry and how the barista can stay relevant to the ever-changing landscape and technology. It was separated into three components: innovating and exploring, refining techniques, and adapting.

“I wanted my routine to reflect the constantly evolving nature of the coffee world and the need for baristas to always be thinking creatively in order to keep up with trends in tastes and technology,” he says.

Jack’s routine was judged on taste, technical skill, and presentation. His routine consisted of an espresso, a milk-based coffee and a coffee-based signature drink comprising three ingredients including lacto-fermented raspberries, cold vacuum-boiled bergamot tea, and clarified milk.

In each of his courses, Jack used a natural ombligon coffee featuring flavours of red cherry, blood plum, and bergamot, produced from Nestor Lasso of Finca El Diviso in Colombia.

“We tried a lot of different coffees, and we couldn’t beat this varietal with anything else we tried,” he says.

Jack thanks 2022 world barista champion Anthony for his guidance and coaching throughout his preparation, as well as Axil Coffee Co-owners Dave Makin and Zoe Delany and Head Roaster Matt Crowley for their assistance.

“I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by amazing coffee professionals that provided an endless source of knowledge and advice. I couldn’t have done it without them,” says Jack.

Jack will represent Australia in the World Championships taking place from 22 to 24 June in Athens, Greece. With just weeks to go until the global competition, Jack will start preparing a plan of attack in order to be ready to represent Australia, which includes sourcing competition-worthy coffee.

“I’ll likely recruit as much support as we can from the judges and other people in the industry over the next few weeks. We want to put our best foot forward and represent Australia the best we can,” he says.

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