In May we launched the Home Barista Challenge to see how people had been perfecting their coffee game at home during COVID-19 isolation. We understood that an entire community of passionate Australian coffee drinkers had their regular local café based routines interrupted and we wanted to find out how they had turned to their own kitchens to get that perfect brew. The competition also focused on our desire to support the specialty coffee industry through the COVID-19 crisis by asking consumers to support their favourite local roasters, baristas and cafes by purchasing their coffee and milk locally and referencing them in their Home Barista Challenge entries.
Given the isolated nature of COVID-19 restrictions, the challenge involved coffee lovers submitting video entries focusing on coffee technique and creative flair. There was a huge response and the entries were predictably diverse; from people creating latte art, showcasing their home coffee setup, providing insights into their morning coffee making routine, highlighting techniques in creating the perfect shot of espresso to the ways they were grinding their beans to create the best tasting cup. The prizes included a La Marzocco Linea Mini coffee machine valued at over $6000 for the winning entry with the runners up receiving one of two Mahlkonig Espresso grinders courtesy of AMC Roastery Supply & Hemro Group.
We were fortunate to be able to involve some of our specialty coffee partners in the initiative. The judges for the competition featured some of the top names in Australian Specialty Coffee: Matt Lewin (Ona Coffee) – Australian Barista Champion 2019, Paul Jackson – Owner & Managing Director of Danes Specialty Coffee and 2018 & 2019 AICA Champion Australian Roaster and Shin Fukuyama (St.Ali Coffee Roasters) – Australian Latte Art Champion 2018. They had the unenviable task of picking a winner from over 130 entries and ultimately chose what we believe were three fantastic and worthy winners.