Day Three saw the most crowded day of the experience, with long lines snaking away from all the stalls. The immense flood of people through the Royal Hall of Industries has given the industry great exposure, with many attendees learning more about the processes of what goes into great coffee.
Another great factor today was that some of the fantastic competitors from the events over the past three days were behind the machine or brew gear serving delicious coffee. With Ona Coffee taking out most of the silverware (1st Barista Champs, 2nd & 3rd Brewer's Cup, 3rd Cup Tasters), their stand at the back of the hall was seriously hopping. We were lucky enough to grab a small taste of Head Roaster Sam's competiton brew; a Panama Mamakata gesha brewed rather unusually in an Espro french press. As it cooled, fantastic notes of kiwifruit came through along with a long strawberry finish.
We also grabbed the winner of the Barista Championship, Hugh Kelly, and had a brief chat with him about his preparation and execution. Having just gotten back from an origin trip to Colombia two weeks ago, work on his routine was intense as soon as he arrived back in Australia. However, after developing a close working relationship with the farmers in Colombia, his coffees were ready to go. As he said "They're doing amazing stuff there with experimentation and spreading knowledge, and they basically work out what works best for each varietal. They then learn a system for getting farmers to grow it in a particular way... it's fairly inspirational".
As a team, we would like to thank The Coffee Experience management for having us on board. With the coffee industry in Australia only getting bigger and bigger, this terrific event is sure to continue to showcase the best of what's on offer.