More than 800 coffee were submitted in the 2020 Australian International Coffee Awards (AICA), with judging wrapping up on 6 March.
Held annually by the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV), AICA sees a panel of industry experts recognise the smoothest, frothiest, and most refined local and international coffees. The panel includes roasters, green bean buyers, trainers, and educators working in coffee.
Head Judge Melissa Caia of the William Angliss Institute Coffee Academy tells BeanScene
“Overall, we’ve seen higher quality coffees. I think people have been taking in feedback from past years and worked to improve their tasting notes and techniques,” Melissa says.
“There are more medals being awarded because the quality is lifting.”
Judges are invited from across Australia to take part in the AICA. Many bring years of experience, and first timers come in as Associates, learning from others before joining the panel. Experienced baristas are employed to brew coffee to the correct standards.
“We have great baristas looking after the coffee back of house. Roasters can put their faith in those baristas to handle their coffee,” Melissa says.
“Everything is anonymous and not even the baristas know what they’re working with, which keeps feedback honest and removes biases”
The judges will award eight trophies, including Champion Australian Roaster, Champion International Roaster, Champion Direct Trade or Microlot Coffee, Champion Espresso, Champion Milk based coffee, Champion Soy Based Coffee, Champion Filter Coffee and Champion Cold Brew Coffee. An awards ceremony will be held at St Ai in South Melbourne on 11 March.
“The filter-style categories are growing fast, but milk is always the biggest category, which makes sense considering our consumer base,” Melissa says.
Entries in the AICA have come from across Australia, as well as New Zealand, Asia, the United States, Canada, Korea, Indonesia, and Greece, among other countries.
Using the RASV scoring system, any coffee awarded 54 to 60 points will be presented a gold medal, 49 to 53 points a silver, and 44 to 48 a bronze.
“To achieve those scores means there are excellent qualities to your product. Those high standards bring a prestige to the awards,” Melissa says.
“The AICA holds credibility to a lot of roasters, who get real feedback from colleagues and industry professionals who are doing the exact same thing. It’s almost like we’re helping each other.”
For more information, visit www.rasv.com.au/australian-international-coffee-awards