34 Franklin Street
Warning: This post is Strictly Not Brunch (SNB). Well trained baristas’ were sighted
More information about MICE and to buy tickets here.
Coffee and competition. These words are rarely used together. Sure healthy competition exists to provide the best coffee in Melbourne, where roasters compete to gain access to the best micro-coffee bean growers. Let’s not forget about consumers competing to be first in line to get their coffee in the morning. Yet, once a year the best brewers and baristas from around the world compete at the World Barista Championship and World Brewer’s Cup. It’s barista against barista in what can only be described as part show (points can be lost if your attire is second best) and part perfection. Coffee skills are matched with presentation and presented to the judging panel. For the first time since its inception, the Melbourne International Coffee Expo (MICE) (23 – 26 May) will be hosting this highly caffeinated, high pressure competition. Mr LB was lucky enough to attend the media launch at Captain Melville to meet St Ali’s Matt Perger (2013 Australian champion barista) and Sensory Lab’s Lachlan Ward to watch how the masters do it.
Matt Perger is ready to give the finals everything he’s got. For Perger to reach the finals (held on Sunday) he will use in excess of 30 kilos of coffee beans. His coach has flown down from the United States and his arsenal includes one the ripest batches of coffee beans from Guatemala and the freshest milk from the outskirts of Melbourne. He has the home ground advantage and will need it. Within 15 minutes he is required to produce four espressos, four cappuccinos and four coffee-based ‘signature drinks’ to present to a panel of six judges. Talking about the flavour of the beans, Matt discusses his need for his blend to suite an “international palate” in order to have a strong chance of getting through to the finals. This means the fruitier and crispier the blend, the better his chances are.
Whilst the World Brewer’s Cup seems to be more relaxed as only one beverage needs to be served to a panel of judges, the brewer still requires the ability to engage the experience with the judges and whilst producing one find filtered coffee. Ward will be competing the World Brewer’s Cup and I was lucky enough to see him in action and taste his winning brew.
I had two blends – both from the Guatemala region. The first blend had beans that were fully washed with a clean and subtle fruity nectare finish. The seasonal brew had beans that were half washed and half dried, which allowed for a defining crisp taste of citrus flavours. Either way, they both were fanastic blends and I would be giving Ward 10/10.
The Melbourne International Coffee Expo isn’t just about hosting the two championships. There will be plenty of stalls on display across the floor relating to all things coffee. If your love for coffee is within the competition or having an adventure tasting various blends, then check out what’s happen at MICE on the 25 & 26 of May.
Final Thought: “Go Aussie and go Melbourne Coffee!”
Whilst at Captian Melville, I couldn’t help but take a few quick snaps of their magnificent dining area which backs the front bar. The dining space is immaculate with a true balance of old vs new running throughout the decor. The perfect little getaway to have a intimate chin wag.