Wowza, what an event! It was huge, bigger than before, and the venue was awesome. At the Melb Exhibiton Centre, they made good use of all the space!
So many highlights, and didn't get to check out everything, but many (many many MANY) samples to be had, some were stunning, some I was not overly impressed with, but all in all some really great coffees being produced.
Particularly enjoyed the Five Senses stand, where you could choose which journeys to go on. They took you through a particular coffee in Tanzania with three different brews to try, from when it was first processed and their early methods, and each one since, each getting better and better, and you could certainly tell in that last cup which had so much more clarity even being a natural processed.
Next was a coffee made with three different water compositions, I didn't do this one.
The third journey was three different espressos brewed using the same coffee, but different methods. First was a standard, normal espresso shot pulled at 9 bars. The next was a shot pulled at about a 1 degree difference. And the last was with pre-infusion introduced.
I'd never sat down and had them all side by side like so that was incredibly eye opening, the last coffee with preinfusion was unreal, such sweetness and body.
I didn't get to watch any of the comp unfortunately, but awesome to hear that Matt Lewin won the Aus Barista Championship! It was really cool to hear, as I know he's been competing for many years, climbing higher and higher and never quite cracking the first place, so stoked for him. I remember him bringing in bags of Axil coffee for us at a cafe I once worked at hehe, nice guy.
Saw John there at the Decent Espresso stand and said g'day and had a shot from the Decent.
The filter brews at Zest were unreal, just delicious.
Some incredible machines and grinders on display, spent a little time chatting with the guys at the Slingshot grinder.... wow. It looks incredible, and doses into the basket perfectly distributed and ready to tamp. Not to mention a timer that tells how long the ready-to-dose grounds have been sitting in there.
Strangely, even though I'd planned to use the spit cup and not consume as much, I didn't do that, drank a fair few but didn't have any of the horrendous aftereffects which was awesome! No headache, heart palpitations, nausea or stomach pain like last year haha, not even really buzzed, I felt tired from a big day more than anything else!
And amazing news that Melbourne is going to hold the World Barista Championships at MICE next year, massive! I remember watching it many years ago when it was in Melbourne, a privilege to have it back.
A really great event, just so great to connect with others, learn, taste and experience, highly recommended