The W.A Barista Competition for 2008 is on again. This year being held in the Perth Town Hall in conjunction with the City of Perth good food month. It’s been an excellent event so far, we’ve just completed the first day of competition with 12 competitors putting their skills on display.
This year is a bit different for me however, because I’ve gotten involved in the judging side of things. A bit daunting personally, but definitely an excellent experience so far. I was a little unsure of how I’d go, but after passing through a full sensory evaluation test quite well, and getting a lot of good practice seeing how the marks are given and the competition run, I’m quite happy with how things have turned out.
There is a lot of responsibility on the judges to be fair and reasoned in their assessment of each of the competitors performances, but the score sheets are fortunately (for us) quite specific on how we need to mark for each component.
From a judging point of view, I obviously can’t give anything away just yet, but I can say that the quality of competition has been great so far. We’ve seen some very polished performances, some excellent espresso, deliciously creamy cappuccinos, and beautiful and inventive signature drinks.
The competition continues tomorrow (Sunday 16th March) with a final 6 competitors ready to go before the overall barista champion for W.A is crowned, and sent over to represent us in the National competition in Melbourne later in the year (and hopefully the world championship in Copenhagen, Denmark too).
Following the barista competition will be a latte art smackdown (!). Basically a free for all competition where anyone with some latte art skills can pit themselves against all comers for milk based barista street cred.
The final event of the day will be the Australian Coffee Cupping Competition. Basically a fun competition in which a competitor has to pick the odd one out of a 8 sets of 3 coffees. The coffees are prepared in a filter style, and a competitor has to taste them all to determine which one isn’t the same as the others. The winner is whoever finishes first and gets the most right.
I’m going to have a crack at the cupping competition, only because I’m slightly buoyed by my sensory skills test, and although I’d have no chance dealing with the intensity of the barista championship, figure I can at least be coordinated enough to get a spoon full of coffee from the cup to my mouth.
If you’re at all into coffee, and want to check out the great things happening in the Perth coffee scene, I’d definitely encourage you to come down and check out the exciting finale of the competition. Perth Town Hall at the corner of Barrack and Hay St.
Now if I can just stop jittering for a while and get some sleep tonight I might just make it through tomorrow :)