Australia’s Matthew Lewin of Ona Coffee placed 11th in the 2019 World Barista Championship (WBC), held at the Specialty Coffee Expo in Boston, United States from 11 to 14 April.
Matt advanced to the WBC semi-finals where he received a score of 399. He was the top ranked barista going in from the preliminary round with a 522 score.
Matt’s performance focused on how to connect consumers to specialty coffee. He used each course to take the judges from the consumer level to the ‘specialty bubble’ coffee professionals live in.
“We live in a bubble in specialty coffee, where everything from the competition to record breaking coffee prices have completely changed the way you and I see coffee,” Matt told judges.
“Yet, the reality is, most customers haven’t caught up… Assuming they’ll enjoy coffee the same way we do isn’t always right. Instead, I ask, ‘what do you like?’ It’s a simple way to connect any everyday coffee drinker to our world.”
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Matt said most customers at Ona cafés ordered milk-based coffees with dark chocolate notes, so he began with his milk course, making “the best version of this”.
He used a Honduran coffee with notes of Venezuelan dark chocolate and raw Peruvian cacao to give an example of easily identifiable flavours most consumers enjoy in milk coffees.
“For me, these coffees have become some of the most exciting again, because I can use familiar dark chocolate flavours, refine them, and introduce everyday coffee drinkers to our world,” Matt said.
He then moved on to his signature course, where Matt’s beverage was divided into two parts.
“As much as I’ve always loved those darker, richer notes in coffee, I’ve also come to love lighter fruit notes as well. But, I still find today that a lot of everyday coffee drinkers are not fully aware that coffee can actually taste this other way,” Matt said.
“I want to bridge the gap between the darker flavours we just had in milk and lighter fruit notes that I’ve come to love. To do that, we’re going to explore a new coffee now in your signature drink. We’re going to express it with both a darker and a lighter side.”
He first asked judges to take a small sip of espresso mixed with blackened chestnuts and roasted coconut water, which expressed the “dark side” of the different Honduran coffee he used.
Matt then asked the judges to add the remainder of this drink to a wine glass with espresso ice. This second part of the signature drink expressed the “light side” of his coffee, with citrus notes and silky mouthfeel.
For his final course, Matt used his espresso to express what he loved about specialty coffee. He also used a model of the Santa Barbara mountain range in Honduras to show the judges how higher elevation resulted in complex qualities in his espressos.
Regardless of your experience, whether you are crazy coffee people like us or a first time coffee drinker, or irrespective of coffee preference, I believe we can create a world… where we connect people and coffee in a more personalised and curated way,” Matt said.
“This is a world I want to be a part of.”
For full placings, visit www.worldcoffeeevents.org
Image credit: Jennifer Hall, World Coffee Events