Michael Munroe of Addison & Steele wins Western Region Barista Championship

Adelaide has wrapped up the last of the Australian Specialty Coffee Association (ASCA) regional coffee competitions.

The Western Region Coffee Championships were held in conjunction with the Double Shot Coffee Fiesta in Unley on 28 February.

Perth-based Michael Munroe of Addison & Steele Specialty Coffee won the Western Region Barista Championship. Rie Moustakas of Black List Coffee Roasters won second place, and Ashley Lyons of Sazón Espresso won third place.

“Winning this competition was extremely important to me as I was discussing issues of sustainability, which I believe is of utmost importance, but is receiving the least amount of conversation time particularly in the service end of the supply chain,” Michael says. “Winning this event now gives me this opportunity to present this talk in front of my peers at a national level.”

For his routine, Michael used an Ethiopian coffee from the Kochere district of Yirgacheffe, roasted by Small Batch Roasting Co. in North Melbourne.

His signature drink involved a homemade tonic syrup which combined cinchona bark, citrus, florals and spices in cold water for 72 hours. In addition, Michael added floral bitters and soda water. “My signature drink was about using such drinks in cafés as a way to engage with more customers and open up a conversation about coffee,” he says.

Michael is no stranger to the competition scene. He won Western Australia’s Barista Championship in 2015, and has backed it up with a consecutive win at the Western Region competition. Michael also won Western Australia’s Brewers Cup Championship in 2014, and went on to place third in the 2014 national competition.

“I think this win is my biggest achievement, however, given the concept and content for my routine. I look forward to sharing it at the national competition,” Michael says.

The secret to winning however, was Michael’s amount of time and preparation.

“I began training almost six months prior to the competition. That and the support from friends and family and the team at Small Batch Roasting Co [was key],” he says.

In the Western Region Pura Latte Art Championship, Andy Tseng from Pixel Coffee Brewers in Perth impressed the judges to take home the gold milk jug trophy. Celeste Dixon of Bar 9 won second place, and Joshua Hocking of C.r.e.a.m won third place.

In a fast-paced display of skill and accuracy, Michael Raffoul of Monastery Coffee in Adelaide won the Huhtamaki Cup Tasters Championship. Gabriel Tan of Black List Coffee Roasters won second place, and Campbell Herbert of Monastery Coffee won third place.

Star power was already on Michael’s side. He trained with 2015 South Australian Cup Taster Champion Adam Marley in the lead up to the event.

Andy will make a quick dash to Melbourne at the end of the week, when the ASCA Australian Latte Art Championships are held in conjunction with the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival (MFWF) from 4 – 5 March.

The championships will take place in an open-air event on the iconic red steps alongside Melbourne’s Yarra River. The competition is kicking off at the MFWF Festival Hub on Queensbridge Square, with the Open Heats on Friday 4 March from 12pm – 2:30pm.

Michael will compete in the ASCA Australian Cup Tasters Championship, taking place 12 March at Veneziano Coffee Roasters in Richmond, Victoria.

The winner of the Australian Latte Art Championship and Cup Tasters Championship will represent Australia in the world championships in Shanghai, China from 29 March – 1 April.

Michael will take on the country’s best baristas when the ASCA Australian Barista Championship is held at the Melbourne International Coffee Expo from 17 – 19 March.

The winner of the Australian Barista Championship will travel to Dublin, Ireland to compete against the world’s top baristas from 22 – 25 June.

For more information visit www.australianspecialtycoffee.com.au

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