Liam Pratt of Extraction Coffee Roasters wins Milklab Roaster Royale competition

Milklab Roaster Royale

Extraction Coffee Roasters Head of Coffee Liam Pratt has won the inaugural Milklab Roaster Royale competition, a $10,000 cash prize, and trip to Papua New Guinea.

“I feel so elated. With these kinds of competitions, any coffee can taste good on any given day. A lot of it also comes down to personal preference, so I’m very lucky to have won,” Liam says.

“I want to say a big thank you to Milklab and InterAmerican Coffee for hosting this great event. Roasters don’t often get the chance to compete in events like this. I’m grateful for the platform to share what we do with the community.”

DC Wen of Rush Roasting Co came in second and won $5000, and Paul of Sharehouse Coffee Roasters placed third and won $2500.

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Roasters were to create a signature roast that pairs well with Milklab Oat Milk, using beans supplied by green bean partner InterAmerican Coffee.

“InterAmerican Coffee supplied beans from Brazil, Ethiopia, Honduras, and Papua New Guinea. All the coffees were really high quality and provided diverse flavours for us to pair with Milklab Oat Milk,” says Liam.

“The process involved roasting and tasting the coffees individually to understand what each brought to the total blend, whether its acidity, sweetness, or any other flavours. Then we blended the coffees from the different origins on the cupping table and tasted them together. Once we established the ratio of each, we introduced the oat milk.”

Liam says after much deliberation and roasting many different ratios of coffee with a Kaleido Coffee Roaster, he found his recipe in a week. He says he was confident in using the machine as it was the same one he used in the 2024 Australian Barista and 2023 Coffee Roasting Championship.

“This isn’t my first rodeo. I have a set regimen that I adhere to when it comes to creating a new blend, so it was quite streamlined. It was really a process of trial and error, as well as making sure to brew the coffee as an espresso, which was the intended method of preparation,” he says.

Judging the competition was Australian Cup Tasters Champion and Infinity Coffee Roasters Founder Frankie Shi, Dom White Horse, and InterAmerican Coffee General Manager Daniel Vella.

Liam says he will use his winnings to thank those who have supported him, as well as to pay off some of his mortgage.

“I’d love to show some recognition to the people who helped me prepare for this competition. I’m also going on a holiday to New Zealand later this year, so I’d love to put some money towards that,” he says.

But Liam says, more than anything, he is excited for his trip to origin.

“I’ve been buying coffees from Papua New Guinea for many years, and the producers are amazing. I can’t wait to meet them and thank them for all their hard work. I think it will be very gratifying,” he says.

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