Luna An of Ona Coffee has won Veneziano Coffee Roasters’ inaugural Barista Battle competition. Lucy Lee of Little Nooky come second and independent barista James Kim placed third.
Luna won $1500, Acaia Pearl Brewing Scales and 250 grams of Veneziano’s latest Pinnacle Coffee from Café Granja La Esperanza.
“I can’t believe I won. I placed second in a recent smackdown, and have been training every day, so to win tonight is really amazing,” Luna says. “Cupping is normally specialty, not so much latte art, so I really relied on my sensory skills and it worked. I had so much fun.”
Lucy received $500 and 250 grams of Veneziano’s Pinnacle Coffee from Café Granja La Esperanza.
“I don’t compete at all, my boss wanted me to try and step out of my comfort zone, and I’m glad I did. Normally I’m very shaky with latte art but tonight my strength was in the sensory category. Maybe this was the confidence boost I needed to enter more competitions in future,” Lucy says.
“To see three Koreans place one, two and three is awesome.”
James won a La Marzocco Skateboard and 250 grams of Veneziano’s latest Pinnacle Coffee.
“I’m originally from Korea and hope to come back to Melbourne soon and open my own cafe. I just love coffee and wanted to enter the competition to check my skills and test where I’m at,” he says.
“This competition was a unique format. I liked that it involved latte art, brewing and sensory skills. I’m normally strong at latte art but this was my first time joining a sensory competition and I surprised myself at how well I went. I also brew V60 at home, so this was a good opportunity to brew with the W60 too.
“It was such a fun event. It’s been a great opportunity to meet new people and make new friends and to have events back is just awesome. Thank you to everyone that helped put on tonight’s event, I’m really grateful.”
More than 150 people gathered to cheer on the 24 barista competitors in three knockout rounds, testing their latte art, sensory and brewing skills.
In the first round, ‘Pour Party’, competitors went head-to-head, spinning a wheel to determine what latte art shape they will pour. The judges awarded token points for creativity, contrast, and symmetry.
In round two, ‘Slurp It’, the 12 remaining baristas battled-it-out using their sensory skills. Just like a cup tasters’ competition, there were three cups – two identical, one different – with five triangulations. Competitors had five minutes to complete the round. The top six most accurate and fastest baristas continued into the final round, ‘Do you W60?’
Using the Hario W60, designed by Veneziano’s research and development master Pete Licata and a Microlot from Cafe Imports, competitors presented their brew to the judges for evaluation. Competitors had 15 minutes to dial in the coffee and five minutes brewing time.
Thanks to Cafe Imports, the top six finalists took home a microlot coffee and a W60 brewer from Hario.
All ticket sales will be donated to the Cancer Council, helping to support those impacted by cancer.