Ziggy Varamulia of Max and Sons wins Western Region Barista Championship

Western Region

Ziggy Varamulia of Max and Sons in Perth has won the Australian Specialty Coffee Association (ASCA) 2019 Western Region Barista Championship.

Rhys Woods of Lo. Ki in Adelaide placed second, and Rummy Keshet of Offshoot Coffee in Perth placed third.

The competition was held at the Double Shot Coffee Fiesta in Unley, South Australia from 3 to 4 November.

Ziggy’s routine focused on giving customers a distinct and interesting experience with specialty coffee.

“[My routine aimed] to wow and blow their minds with what can be done with coffee in the hope that they can see the value of specialty coffee as more than just a morning pick-me-up,” Ziggy says.

Ziggy used a Five Senses-roasted washed Ethiopian coffee from the Tade GG Estate in the Guji region for both his espresso and milk-based beverages.

Western Region
The Western Region Latte Art finalists, from left to right: Alex Whigham, Andy Tseng, and Renae Murray

The flavour profile of his espresso included notes of lychee, jasmine tea and mandarins. The flavour profile of his milk beverage included notes of passionfruit ice cream, lemon meringue, and shortcrust pastry.

“The milk I used had also been specially prepared. It is a jersey cow, full cream milk from Harvey, WA, that I have cryo-filtered, or freeze distilled,” Ziggy says.

For his signature beverage, Ziggy demonstrated how using the same ingredients as the flavour profile will not necessarily create the same flavours in the drink.

“In fact, it will give a new flavour spectrum for us to work with. Along with the Tade GG Estate espresso, I used jasmine kombucha and mandarin rind infused lychee purée which I have strained twice,” Ziggy says.

“I then put it into the nitro charger for a creamier mouthfeel. As a finishing touch, and to have a bit of fun, I tied it back to the concept of blowing minds by dusting it with popping candy.

“I came up with this idea by experimenting with different ingredients in the flavour profile and found this to be the most delicious and interesting. “

The Double Shot Coffee Fiesta also hosted the ASCA 2019 Central Region Brewers Cup and Latte Art Championship.

Western Region
The Western Region Brewers Cup finalists, David Trott, Mike Wells, and Dominic Ossa

Mike Wells of Veneziano Coffee Roasters placed first in the ASCA 2019 Central Region Brewers Cup. David Trotta of Third Time Lucky placed second, and Domenic Ossa of Dawn Patrol Coffee placed third.

Andy Tseng of Fiori Coffee placed first in the ASCA 2019 Central Region Latte Art Championship. Alex Whigham of My Kingdom for a Horse placed second, and Renae Murray of Five Senses placed third.

The ASCA 2019 Western Region Cup Tasters Championship took place at Howdy Coffee in Bayswater, WA on 20 October, and saw Matthew Smithies of Five Senses Coffee take the title.

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The winners of the four competitions have earnt spots in the ASCA Australian Championships, taking place at the Melbourne International Coffee Expo from 7 to 9 February, 2019.

Ziggy says new baristas thinking about competing should jump in head first.

“Just go for it. It is an amazing experience that will push you to be a better barista. Try it out and see if you fall in love with competing like I did,” he says.

“I think the most overlooked thing in competition is it is a performance. Don’t forget to engage and be excited when you are in front of the judges. And most of all have fun, because coffee is fun.”

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