Riverina Fresh celebrates 100 years as the official World Barista Championship milk supplier

Riverina Fresh

Riverina Fresh is celebrating its centenary year as the official World Barista Championship milk supplier, putting its local team, dairy farmers, and their product in the international spotlight.

It’s not uncommon for coffee producers to watch baristas use their coffee at a World Barista Championship (WBC), but perhaps for the first time at the Melbourne International Coffee Expo (MICE), Riverina Fresh dairy farmers will get to watch the world’s best baristas use their milk in person.

“We expect to have a big group of Riverina Fresh farmers travelling from the Riverina region for the event. Our suppliers already understand that Riverina Fresh milks a product used by the country’s best baristas and cafés, but when they see their product used by international baristas in the industry’s premium competition, I think they’ll be blown away,” says Riverina Fresh CEO Rob Collier.

“It’s been a challenging five to six years with drought and rising input costs, so this is just the lift our farmers will enjoy.”

Riverina Fresh was first approached to be the competition’s official milk supplier in 2020, but with the onset of COVID-19 and the postponement of the competition in Melbourne, the honour will finally be realised at this year’s event in September.

“We were flattered that World Coffee Events had spoken to leading roasters and cafés in Australia who had advocated for our product. We’ve worked closely with the Australian coffee industry for years, building relationships and getting the product right, so to get the recognition and now have the chance to show why we’re an industry favourite, is a real accomplishment,” Rob says.

“We were looking forward to the WBC in Melbourne in 2020 like most of the coffee industry, but in many ways we’re even more excited now that it’s finally happening and that Riverina Fresh will play such a significant role.”

Each international competitor will have access to Riverina Fresh’s Gold, Full Cream, Light, Skim and lactose-free milk products for training purposes in Melbourne, and on the competition stage throughout the event from 27 to 30 September.

Past Australian Barista Champions to use Riverina Fresh milk on the WBC stage include Ona Coffee’s Hugh Kelly, Matthew Lewin and soon Danny Wilson in the World Coffee in Good Spirits Championship. This time around however, no extravagant measures of cold chain transport will be needed to send Riverina Fresh milk around the world.

Each morning a special batch of milk from Riverina Fresh’s own distribution centre in Melbourne will be quality tested before being transported to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

“Our freshness has always been one of our strengths. We have a dedicated farming group who are quality milk producers with close proximity to our operations in Wagga Wagga,” Rob says. “This makes a difference because the product is typically bottled 24 to 48 hours from milking. Riverina Fresh then gets the right balance of fats, proteins, and lactose – we run on tight specifications to achieve the best quality and consistency – and test and texture every batch of milk in our laboratory before it’s released for use.

“In the same way the world is aware that Australia has a world class coffee industry, I hope the international baristas will discover we also have a world class dairy industry.”

With this in mind, Rob says Australian baristas will likely have a slight advantage leading into the WBC given their familiarity with Riverina Fresh and use of the product in the Australian Specialty Coffee Association regional and national competitions, to which Riverina Fresh is also the milk sponsor.

“Milk around the world does vary based on variables like breed of cow, feed type and climate, therefore local baristas should benefit,” Rob says. “We’ve had really positive feedback from baristas at the regional competitions so far and many inquiries about our product.”

Riverina Fresh’s partnerships on the national and world stage are just one part of the company’s plans to support its 100th year of operation this year. Celebrations kicked off at the Royal Easter Show in Sydney and will extend throughout the year to honour those who have contributed to the company’s history and success, including employees, farmers, the local community, industry partners and consumers.

“Hitting the 100-year-milestone is really great recognition for Australia’s food production, the Riverina region as a renowned food bowl and dairy producer, and for a regional, independent, Australian-owned business that is still here and thriving,” Rob says.

“I think consumers and businesses understand the value of locally-produced agriculture, food security and our supply chains. We need to support local food production to ensure its long-term sustainability. Riverina Fresh is very dedicated to the Australian coffee scene, and we thank those who have supported us over the past 100 years too.”

For more information visit riverinafresh.com.au

This article appears in the June 2022 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.

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