Australian to brew for Britain in world coffee finals


An Australian will represent the UK in the world finals of the speciality coffee-making contest, the World Barista Championship – it is the latest indication of just how much impact the Australian speciality coffee culture has had on the British coffee market, part of the reason that London is now regarded as the espresso capital of the world.

John Gordon of Melbourne, pictured in competition action, took the British Barista Championship at the Hotelympia trade show on 1st March, having beaten around a hundred British baristas (barmen skilled in brewing espresso coffee) on his way to the title. In representing the UK in the world championship, he will be following recent British successes – the world champions in 2007 and 2009 were from London (and the one inbetween was a Dubliner living in London).

To win the barista championships, entrants have to serve a panel of judges perfect espresso coffee drinks, then perfect cappuccinos, and finally a ‘signature’ drink, made to a recipe of their own devising.

The recent influence of Australian and New Zealand baristas on the British coffee market has been significant. Several of the ‘cool’ coffee bars in London and other major cities are now run by baristas from the other side of the world, and several newspapers recently became very excited when both the Starbucks and Costa coffee-bar chains introduced what was referred to as ‘a new coffee drink’, the Flat White – that drink was introduced here by the Australians and New Zealanders, has become quickly popular in the coffee bars of Central London, and is an extremely difficult drink to make properly.

This year, for the first time, the world coffee championships will be held in London. They will be part of the Caffe Culture trade show at Olympia, at the end of June.

It is expected that both the hospitality trade and the tourist trade will make the very most of this opportunity – when cities such as Sydney hold a coffee festival, there is a vast amount of public interest.

Second place in the British championship was Dale Harris of First Choice Coffee, and in third was Neil le Bihan of Exchange Coffee, a market stall in Lewisham.

The best coffee stories are from Boughton’s Coffee House magazine – http://www.coffee-house.org.uk

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