Nicole Novak of Five Senses Coffee has won the Australian Specialty Coffee Association (ASCA) Western Region Cup Tasters Championship.
“I’m honoured to represent the coffee industry for the Western Australia region. I hope it empowers other women to compete and put themselves out there,” says Nicole.
Matthew Smithies of Five Senses Coffee placed second and Ru Teow of Laika Coffee placed third, out of a field of 30 competitors.
Nicole says her strategy on the day was to stay calm and collected, which earned her six out of eight triangulations guessed correctly.
“I took my time and made sure I stayed focused. While some cups were hard to pick, I was really mindful of what was in each cup and just dimmed out the background noise,” she says.
“I concentrated on which cups were similar and what stood out, whether it was acidity, aftertaste, body, aroma, or flavour.”
Minas Hill was appointed this year’s official Australian Green Bean partner for the competition, providing all the Cup Taster competition coffees.
Having competed in the Cup Tasters Championship once before, Nicole has operated as Five Senses’ Account Manager for seven years, was a successful café owners seven years prior and is a qualified Q-grader.
Nicole says she credits her recent win to the incredible support system she has around her.
“I want to thank the Five Senses crew for their support, all the judges and competitors I had the absolute honour of working with and every single volunteer, sponsor, attendee, coffee professional and support crew involved,” she says.
Nicole will now put her focus to the ASCA Australian Cup Tasters Championship, taking place from 17 to 20 August at the Melbourne Meat Market in North Melbourne, Victoria.
With nationals only a month away, Nicole planned to celebrate her win with simple pleasures – beers and burgers – before knuckling down on her national preparation.
“I just want to enjoy the community feel a competition brings about. I’m also really looking forward to spending some down time with my work colleagues that I haven’t seen in a while,” she says.