Australian Barista Champion Jack Simpson of Axil Coffee ready for WBC

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Jack Simpson of Axil Coffee will represent Australia at the World Barista Championship (WBC) in Athens, Greece from 21 to 24 June.

“I’m ready. I’ve been training 12 hours a day since nationals, and I haven’t left the training room since. I’m super happy with the effort I’ve put in,” says Jack, Head of Quality Control at Axil Coffee in Melbourne.

“[My biggest advantage going into the WBC this year] is the time I spent helping Anthony [Douglas of Axil Coffee and 2022 WBC winner] last year, and being involved in his competition campaign. Having that experience was a big help. I’ve also been around the competition scene for the past seven to eight years now, so I’m sure the experience has contributed to where I am now.”

In a role reversal, this year Anthony will be the one on the sidelines cheering Jack on stage in addition to Jack’s fiancé Gabrielle, his parents, Axil Coffee Co-Owners Dave Makin and Zoe Delany, and Axil Coffee Head Roaster Matt Crowley, who has been pivotal in Jack’s preparation.

“We actually changed the roaster we roasted our competition coffee on. We were roasting on a one-kilo roaster which is quite difficult when you only get about 800 grams out. We’d do multiple roasts and blend it, which made it hard for practice, so we moved to a 22-kilogram Probat roaster and have been roasting larger volumes which made things a lot easier. We have slightly developed the coffee more as well, which we think – and hope – the international judges will appreciate,” Jack says.

Jack will take about four or five roasts over to Athens of the same natural ombligon coffee he used at nationals thanks to producer Nestor Lasso of Finca El Diviso in Colombia.

Also assisting with Jack’s competition campaign is Matt Perger, who’s product the AutoComb will be used by Jack on stage; and Riverina Fresh, who have supplied Jack with 12 litres of milk.

“Riverina Fresh have been such a great support. They carefully prepared and wrapped up all my milk in an esky for transportation. I’m very grateful for their assistance,” Jack says.

Jack will use the Riverina Fresh milk in his WBC milk-based course, in which he will present a vacuum distillation method, which he says is a cross between cryodesiccation and freezed distillation.

“It’s probably the best milk coffee I’ve ever had. Hopefully the judges think the same thing,” he says.

In addition to his milk esky, Jack took over 95 kilograms of equipment, including timber panels for his routine setup.

Jack says despite his fear of flying, he’s excited about the week ahead.

“Once I’m there in Athens I know it’ll be a lot of fun. I’m honestly so excited,” he says.

“My plan is to try and be as ready as I can the hour before I go on stage. I’ll do a bit of meditation and just relax.

“I’ve had so many people send me messages of support and offers of assistance from Australians going over to Athens and those already on the ground, which has been so lovely. I’m definitely feeling the love.

Jack’s routine will follow a similar theme to his nationals performance, in which he focused on the role of the barista in the specialty coffee industry and how the barista can stay relevant to the ever-changing landscape and technology.

“About half of my routine has changed since nationals. I was talking more about how the barista is keeping up with automation. Now, I’ve shifted [the focus] to how the role of the barista is progressing the industry,” Jack says. “I think it’s a positive change.”

Jack will compete in the heats in Athens on 20 June at 12PM, the equivalent of 21 June at 7pm. To watch Jack compete, use the World Coffee Championship livestream.

Source: Bean Scene Mag

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