CAFE REVIEW – MILK CAFE, BALWYN

Last week on a wintery Melbourne day, I visited MILK Café in Balwyn and instantly forgot about the gloomy weather as I was greeted by the lovely mother-son duo running this exceptional suburban cafe. 

Opened in March 2014, MILK is a quaint and cosy little café nestled in Melbourne’s Eastern suburbs and is operated by Debbie and Alex Smith.

Debbie has over ten years’ experience running successful cafes in the Melbourne suburbs previously occupying spaces in Malvern East and Ashburton. After taking a small break she got back into the café scene after stumbling on the perfect little space in Balwyn and we’re sure glad she did because it’s an absolute gem.

Alex’s interest in coffee started at Milk Cloud in Ashburton when he would spend Saturdays on the machine helping Debbie with the bustling trade. It was here he realised his passion for making coffee and has since taken up position of head barista at MILK.

Debbie has been serving Veneziano’s Forza blend for the past 5 ½ years and has never looked back. And Alex’s passion for coffee is obvious as you watch him work his magic behind that incredible looking La Marzocco and serve up his work of art with pride in their stunning collection of pastel crockery.

MILK stands for ‘Mum in her little kitchen’ and once you visit you’ll understand why. Each and every meal on the well-executed menu is made fresh-to-order by Debbie herself. 

My friend ordered the haloumi with pan roasted cherry tomatoes, pickled zucchini and grilled bread. It was a real treat with a little pickled zucchini surprise taking the dish to the next level. I was having one of those avocado days so unsurprisingly ordered the avocado with fetta lemon and cherry tomato on toast. Served on gorgeous crockery and sprinkled with black sesame seeds – I was pretty happy!

The fit out is the perfect balance of homely and quirky, modern design and it really is the perfect space for a quick coffee or a longer stay to catch up with friends over some delicious food.

This favourite haunt for Balwyn locals is worth the drive – do it before it’s no longer a secret!

Location: 186 Belmore Road, Balwyn North, Victoria 3103

Hours: M T W T F  7:30am – 3pm

Coffee: Veneziano Coffee – Forza Blend

Instagram: www.instagram.com/milk.cafe


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Caleb’s World Success – A New Latte Art champion

Caleb Tiger Cha celebrating win WLAC 2015 World Latte Art ChampionCaleb Tiger Cha celebrating win WLAC 2015 World Latte Art ChampionCaleb Tiger Cha celebrating win WLAC 2015 World Latte Art Champion

GOTHENBUG – SCAE’s (Specialty Coffee Association of Europe) Nordic World of Coffee hosted this year’s coffee championships in World Latte Art (WLAC), World Coffee in Good Spirits (WCGS), World Brewer’s Cup (WBrC), World Cup Tasting (WCTC) and World Coffee Roasting (WCRC).

A jubilant Caleb Cha, Australian Latte Art champion from Cafenatics in Melbourne competed, and won, in the solid favourite WLAC in front of an admiring world audience and an elated Australian home crowd on livestream, taking the country’s winnings to two World championships this year. Norway also took home two World titles from the event, WBrC and WCRC. Current World Barista Champion Australian Sasa Sestic, an avid supporter, was present at the finals performance in Gothenburg. Caleb’s victory was made even sweeter after he proposed to his girlfriend and coach, Alice Jeong, on the World stage, and she said ‘yes!’

His win is an amazing feat when you consider he only entered his first Latte Art competition a year ago, in which he competed and placed runner up in both the Victorian and Australian Latte Art championships. It was enough to motivate him to continue and ultimately achieve this great result in Gothenburg, all within a year, an event that will propel his coffee career forward.

Caleb always puts it down simply to practice. “The more you practice and repeat, the better and sharper your patterns become. And, the more confident you become, pouring becomes second nature and you develop steady hands. This lets you work faster with less errors”, he says.

“I can thank Erin Sampson for sharing her tips and tricks with me during last year’s competition prep[aration], and again this year both Erin and Jade (from Veneziano) helped me out with some competition style run-throughs, it definitely helped”, explains Caleb.

When we spoke to Caleb after the heats he reported he was feeling great, though he felt his now famous zebra pattern could have been better. “It [the zebra design] could have been more perfect, but I am aiming to improve it for the finals. I’m aiming for better contrast, more definition… You will see the best design ever!” he said with confidence. When asked if he’d take some time off after the competition he replied with, “Oh no, I must get back, my bosses [at Cafenatics] need me, they were good enough to give me the time off to come here and be a part of it all.”

However since his win, it appears things may not go back to normal as he’s intended, as he was immediately surrounded by sponsors and inundated by fans for photos and ‘selfies’. At the time of the announcement, his initial reaction was one of disbelief, but he eventually came to. After his win, we asked him again, “What are your plans now?”. “I don’t know”, he replies, with a smile. And, we believe him.

Caleb thanks all who supported him including his number one support Alice, his bosses at Cafenatics Equitable Place and 367 (Melbourne), Joseph Haddad and the team at Code Black Coffee Roasters, Australians Lance Brown and Jeremy Regan judging at WLAC, and everyone at Veneziano.

He also gives a huge thanks and appreciation to Cafenatics, Pura Milk, Cafetto, Service Sphere, Mahlkönig and MICE2016 for their generous support in getting him to Sweden.

WLAC Top 3 Results

1st Caleb Cha, from Cafenatics, Australia.

2nd Xuechao Wang, from Jiangbeilerean Coffee, China.

3rd Kyeong-woo Jung, from Corea Coffee Belt, South Korea.

Caleb Tiger Cha celebrating win WLAC 2015 World Latte Art Champion  Caleb Tiger Cha celebrating win WLAC 2015 World  Latte Art Champion  Caleb Tiger Cha celebrating win WLAC 2015 World  Latte Art Champion

 

Other competition results:

WBrC

1st Odd-Steinar Tøllefsen, from Supreme Roastworks, Norway.

2nd Konstantinos Iatridis, from Taf Coffee, Greece.

3rd Benjamin Prager, from Bear Brothers & Cow, Switzerland.

WCGS

1st George Koustoumpardis, from The Underdog, Greece.

2nd Ondrej Hurtík, from Doubleshot, Czech Republic.

3rd Paul Ungureanu, from Paul Ungureanu Consulting, Romania.

WCTC

1st Juan Gabriel Cespedes, from Ecomtrading, Costa Rica.

2nd Mateusz Petlinski, from Woyton Roast Inc, Germany.

3rd Yoeri Joosten, from Boot Koffie, The Netherlands.

4th Krisse McGregor, from Coffee Lab, New Zealand.

WCRC

1st Audun Sørbotten, from Audun Coffee, Norway.

2nd Joanna Alm, from Drop Coffee, Sweden.

3rd Minkeun Choi, from Coffee HOW’S, South Korea.

Cafenatics: http://www.cafenatics.com.au/locations/367-collins

Caleb: http://facebook.com/calebtigers

International Women’s Coffee Alliance, Byron Bay

By Jade Jennings, Veneziano Coffee Roasters Training & Development Manager

A few weeks ago I received an invitation to attend the first meeting for the Australian chapter of the International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA) from 13 – 15 June.

A trip to Byron Bay and Northern NSW was on the agenda with the opportunity to visit some of Australian’s own coffee growing regions and hear the stories of the women growing, processing & roasting it.

To be honest, I was unsure what I could really bring to the table and the thought of this being some sort of secret women’s society almost turned me off the idea. But I thought maybe I had it all wrong, and that I should take the chance, even if it was just for the opportunity to visit origin in my very own backyard. And I’m so glad I did as I left feeling reassured and excited about the intent of the IWCA.

We spent the weekend visiting some truly breathtaking estates including Zeta’s, Byron Blue and Zentveld’s as well as sampling the amazing food and coffee of the local specialty café scene. After spending time with some simply inspiring women in our industry we finished with the reason why we had all made the pilgrimage; to discuss the first steps in starting the Australian chapter for the IWCA.

The IWCA first began in 2003 when two women planned a women-only coffee trip to Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Their goal was to encourage a better understanding of the issues faced by women at origin and to create connections between women in all segments of the coffee industry.

Christine Cottrel of Perfect Espresso and Amelia Franklin of Fair Trade Coffee Roasters in Bellingen were inspired by the story and have since pioneered the Australian chapter.

The IWCA is a global peer network of women in coffee that:

  • Advocates for all women from seed to cup;
  • Provides access to resources; and
  • Provides a forum for connection.

Their mission is to empower women in the international coffee community to achieve meaningful and sustainable lives and to encourage and recognise the participation of women in all aspects of the coffee industry.

Australia is both a producing and consuming country of coffee. Not only do we have a social responsibility to assist neighbouring producing countries in supporting the women in every link of the chain while producing the coffee we buy, but we also have the opportunity to work with some amazing producers right here in Australia to assist in putting our coffee on the world stage.

In doing this we can link producers from Australia to countries in our local vicinity to network and share ideas to help develop crops right through to the final product so all parties involved benefit.

Along the way we will be providing the opportunity for women at all levels to get involved in different aspects of the industry, whether it be picking cherries, processing, roasting, technical demonstrations so that they can not only gain a greater understanding of the product they work with but to further their knowledge and promote industry growth.

The first steps to achieve this are to:

  • Create a network forum for Australian women in the coffee industry;
  • Document our female coffee history in a digital book; and
  • Develop channels to share our stories and gain knowledge through mentoring programs.

The biggest thing that really rang true for me was that the IWCA isn’t about putting men down and creating an exclusive club, rather it’s a platform to support women in the industry by setting up networks to create sustainability in all aspects of the word.

The group that attended on the weekend is an extremely small segment of women involved in the industry so we are seeking all women from every link in the chain including producers, buyers, roasters, distributors, baristas, trainers, technicians, operations and retailers to find out more.

The second meeting will be at The Coffee Experience, Sydney, 3 – 5 September.

For more information and to register please contact with Christine & Amelia:

info@ameliafranklin.com.au

christine@perfectespresso.com.au

This is a really exciting time for not only women in coffee but for the industry as a whole. We have the opportunity to work with Australian growers, assist neighbouring producers and provide a network system to open doors for future generations to come.

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Day One at World Latte Art Championship, Nordic World Of Coffee

Caleb Cha Australian Latte Art Champ 2015Caleb Cha Australian Latte Art Champ 2015Caleb Cha Australian Latte Art Champ 2015Caleb Cha Australian Latte Art Champ 2015GOTHENBURG – Day one of the World Latte Art Championship (WLAC) is over, with 18 competitors having completed their Art Bar performances and competition routines, including the second competitor on the stage, Australian Latte Art Champion Caleb ‘Tiger’ Cha from Cafenatics.

Caleb’s preliminary Art Bar creation, a “magical”, intricately colourful butterfly will account for around 40% of his total score, whilst his two identical “flirting peacock” free-pour latte and “caffeinated zebra” designer latte patterns account for the score balance.

In the interview immediately following his performance Caleb summed up his WLAC on-stage experience as, “Amazing! It’s a fantastic experience to be here, all you can do is enjoy it and don’t overthink it”, he says.

His seven week journey from the Australian championship to WLAC 2015 in Gothenburg has included an insane amount of practice at Code Black Coffee Roasters’ premises in Brunswick; precisely 14,000 cups! That can be broken down into: three patterns, 100 cups a day for each pattern, seven days a week. He also squeezed in some competition style run-through’s with Veneziano’s Erin Sampson and Jade Jennings in the training facilities at First Pour.

With so many latte art barista talents, Caleb feels the ones for him to watch personally are latte are barista champions Sam Low from New Zealand and Sang Moo Huyn from South Korea, as they both placed in the top six of WLAC 2013. Other competitors that attracted some interest on day one were Dhan Taman from the UK, Sweden’s Clara Pihlgren and Nick Vink from the Netherlands.

With Rie Moustakas having finished fourth in WLAC 2014, it provides inspiration for a fellow Australian. “I am desperate to win the title, so I can’t give up!”, remarks Caleb. “My girlfriend Alice has made a huge sacrifice and been a massive support to help get me here, so I don’t want to let her down either.”

Will he make it through to the finals on Thursday? He certainly has a very good chance and all will be revealed at the end of day two of the competition schedule.

Other news:

Lance Brown Head Latte Art Judge WLAC judgeLance Brown – WLAC Head Judge perspective

Veneziano’s Lance Brown, experienced latte art judge at both national and world level competition, judged 11 competitors out of 18 on day one of WLAC 2015: Malaysia, Taiwan, Indonesia, China, Spain, Sweden, France, Netherlands, Slovakia, Brazil and Peru.

Of the 11 competitor routines he watched, Lance feels that he may not have seen the winner yet, but the standout could be Slovakia. He says, “Competitors cannot make it this far and expect to get by on hearts and tulips anymore, we were seeing that kind of thing five years ago at this level, the game has completely changed. With the amount of resources available to baristas these days they really need to step it up if they hope to be successful on the world stage.”

WCIGS 2015

The World Coffee in Good Spirits (WCGS) competition shared the stage with WLAC, alternating competitors from each and keeping up a fast pace for the audience. Finalists will also be announced at the end of day two. WCGS 2014 Champion Matt Perger from St Ali/Sensory Lab has been present at the competition in addition to his Mahlkönig commitments. Mahlkönig also sponsor the Art Bar at WLAC.

WCTC 2015

Heats were held on day one, finalists announced at the end of the day. Unfortunately Australian competitor Hyunsuk Ko, head barista at De Clieu, did not make it through.

Country finalists are: China, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Guatemala, Poland, Ireland, New Zealand, Romania, Colombia, Costa Rica, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Russia, Norway, Japan, Germany and Peru. Germany and Peru finished in a tie for 16th place; equal number of correct cups in equal time.

The Legend’s Smackdown & farewell to the First Pour

Join us as we bid farewell to the First Pour Melbourne – an institution that’s helped raise so many of our industry’s legends.

To help celebrate the move of the First Pour from the much-loved Abbotsford location to our new premises (16 River Street, Richmond) we’re holding the Legend’s Smackdown.

We’ve invited current and past barista staff who have worked or trained with us, to compete in The Legend’s Smackdown on 18 July at 22 Bond Street, Abbotsford.

The list of competitors currently includes
Craig Simon of Think Tank Coffee
Cassie La Penna of Veneziano
Joe Tynan of Café Imports
Simon James of Genovese,
Dave Makin of Axil Coffee Roasters
Jessie Hyde of Axil Coffee Roasters
Jade Jennings of Veneziano

To go head to head with these big names, email sarah.ellul@venezianocoffee.com.au – but hurry and reserve your place quickly as spots are limited and are filling fast.

The winner will receive a cash prize of $4,000 courtesy of Pura Milk – not to mention eternal bragging rights.

Runners up prizes included $500 cash courtesy of Da Vinci Gourmet and BeanScene Magazine subscriptions.

The extensive list of current and past baristas that have trained with us includes: Dave Makin and Jessie Hyde of Axil Coffee Roasters, Erin Sampson, Jen Marks, Jade Jennings, John-Paul Sutton, Mike Wells and Cassie La Penna of Veneziano, Joe Tynan of Café Imports, Simon James of Genovese, Craig Simon of Think Tank Coffee, Will Priestley of Pilgrim Coffee, Con Haralambopoulos of Gridlock Coffee, Joe Tynan of Café Imports, and Marichi Clarke of Red Star Coffee.

Most recently we’ve been training Australia’s current Latte Art Champion Caleb Cha of Cafenatics as he prepares to hit the world stage and represent Australia in the World Latte Art Championships in Gotherburg, Sweden. Our very own Lance Brown will be in Sweden and we’ll be crossing to him on the night to get insider access to the WLAC.

Come along and have a drink with us to farewell the First Pour, cheer on our own smackdown competitors and cheers on Caleb in Sweden. RSVP by Tuesday 16 June via Eventbrite.

LEGEND’S SMACKDOWN
The First Pour – 22 Bond St, Abbotsford
18 June, 5pm – 9pm
Light food and drinks provided
RSVP – Eventbrite

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Cafe Review – Honor Food Co, QLD

This little gem has recently opened in New Farm, QLD. It’s a refreshing new addition to this sunny little suburb on the outskirts of the Brisbane CBD.

With views looking out onto the New Farm Park, it’s a bustling yet calming space for locals to take a break and enjoy a great cup of coffee and a little something from their generous and well thought-out menu.

They do everyone’s all time favourite smashed avocado with feta and dukka – and it’s delicious. For something a little different, they offer bratwurst in a sourdough baguette with home made sauerkraut – seriously delectable. Or if you’ve got a sweet tooth take your pick of home made pastries or dig into their decadent house made waffles with strawberries and cream, bacon and maple syrup or chocolate. They’ve even got the health conscious covered with homemade bircher muesli with almond milk or gluten and dairy free banana bread served with whipped coconut and orange butter.

The staff at Honor Café are welcoming and uber friendly. The coffee is made with love and the fresh flowers spotted all around the place make you feel just that little bit extra special.

So next time you’re in the area take a little time out, grab a coffee, a sneaky treat and enjoy the divine view from this little picture perfect spot.

Location: Sydney Street, New Farm
Hours: M T W T F S S 6am – 3pm
Coffee: Veneziano Coffee – Estate Blend
Website: honorfood.com
Facebook: facebook.com/HonorFoodCo
Instagram: instagram.com/honorfoodco

Honor Food Co New Farm

Honor Food Co New Farm

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World’s Richest Barista Competition – Team Veneziano runner up by ONE point!

Team Veneziano finished runner up by a mere point in the inaugural World’s Richest Barista Competition (WRBC) on Sunday.

This knock-out style competition was held over two days at Cafe Biz at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. It was an incredible battle between 14 teams of very talented baristas. The Natvia Sweet Team (QLD) took out first place, with Espresso Room (ACT) finishing in third place. The top three teams received cheques from Devondale for $35,000, $10,000 and $5,000 respectively.

Veneziano Coffee Roasters joined forces with Cafenatics and Axil Coffee Roasters to create the dream team:

Jade Jennings, training and development manager at Veneziano Coffee Roasters;

Craig Simon, two-time Australian Barista Champion and director at Think Tank Coffee;

Matt Lewin, two-time Australian Barista Champion finalist and roaster at Axil Coffee Roasters: and,

Caleb Cha, current Australian Latte Art Champion from Cafenatics and Code Black Coffee Roasters.

The concept behind the World’s Richest Barista competition is to reproduce the high-pressure environment baristas experience in espresso bars. They must co-operate as a team to deliver the three essential elements that coffee customers expect; fast service, excellent presentation, and high quality beverages. The fast-paced format allows the judges to score immediately.

Coffee used:
Bond Street – Winter seasonal blend*, made from current harvest exclusive microlot coffees
Filter drinks – Bond St Winter and Perci (Ninety Plus Coffee)
Single Origin – Perci (Ninety Plus Coffee)

Our Bond St Winter seasonal blend will be available at the Veneziano Shop from June 1. The Autumn blend is available for one more week – don’t miss it – click here to buy.

L-R: Team Veneziano - Craig Simon, Caleb Cha, Craig Dickson, Jade Jennings, Matt Lewin.

L-R: Team Veneziano – Craig Simon, Caleb Cha, Craig Dickson, Jade Jennings, Matt Lewin.

L-R: Team Veneziano - Craig Simon, Caleb Cha, Craig Dickson, Jade Jennings, Matt Lewin.

L-R: Team Veneziano – Craig Simon, Caleb Cha, Craig Dickson, Jade Jennings, Matt Lewin.

Training the nation’s best.

We’ve helped train Craig Simon, Jen Marks, Erin Sampson and Dave Makin throughout their journey to reach the world stage, and now it’s Caleb Cha’s turn.

Caleb Cha of Cafenatics is the 2015 Australian Latte Art Champion and will be representing Australia in Gothenburg, Sweden from 16 – 18 June.

Veneziano is home to two of the country’s WLAC accredited judges, Lance Brown and Craig Dickson. Both judges have spent time with Caleb in preparation for his world routine. In addition, Caleb has received feedback from Jade Jennings; Australian Barista Championship sensory and head judge, visual latte art judge, and Veneziano’s Training and Development Manager.

“We’re so pleased to be working with and mentoring Caleb to finesse his incredible skills with the guidance of our champion baristas. He joins a long line up of baristas we’ve trained to get to the world stage,” says Lance, Veneziano National Business Manager.

Click for behind the scenes access to Caleb Cha's training with Veneziano Coffee Roasters

Click for behind the scenes access to Caleb Cha’s training with Veneziano Coffee Roasters

In preparation for the Australian Latte Art Championship, Caleb trained intensely. He replicated 100 cups of the same pattern for seven days straight to practice accuracy and repetition. This time around Caleb has left nothing to chance. For the past three months Caleb has been training at Code Black seven days a week, clocking up to 50 hours of latte art practice, and conducting mock routine run-throughs at Veneziano’s training facility.

For the best results, Caleb is training with Pura milk for a silky base to practice his designs, and a Mahlkoenig K30 Vario, the Official Grinder Sponsor of the WLAC.

“The Veneziano team have been supporting my training since last year. They have extensive experience and knowledge to train the world’s best. Most of the trainers are previous champions themselves, so it’s no wonder their advice and guidance was really helpful and reliable,” Caleb says. “You can’t get much better feedback than from a current WLAC Judge, like Lance.”

Caleb will be joined in Gothenburg by his Cafenatics support crew and coach. As to which patterns Caleb will produce for the judges at the WLAC, Caleb is keeping his options closely under wraps. “You’ll just have to wait and see. But be assured, the patterns will show difficulty, creativity, and little bit of my own personality in the cup,” he says. “I’m just happy to show the world that Australia has a high class of baristas and latte artists. I’m grateful and extremely honoured that I have the opportunity to show my patterns to the world.”

Veneziano’s new premises in River St, Richmond, Victoria will soon become home to the company’s new state-of-the-art training facilities that meet Specialty Coffee Association of America guidelines and World Barista Championship standards. “Our vision is to create a collaborative space for baristas to learn the best of coffee, with the best equipment from the best in the industry,” says Craig Dickson, WLAC Judge and Veneziano Managing Director.

Click here to read the full story from BeanScene Magazine.

Industry event – Smell, Taste & Critique

On Friday 22nd May, to coincide with Cafe Biz, we will be hosting an industry event and invite you to come along!

VCR Cafe Brisbane: 369 Montague Rd West End
22 May, 5:30pm – 8:30pm

Craig Dickson will host this event with special guest Craig Simon from Think Tank Coffee. Together they will talk about all things coffee including:
– Origin;
– Processing;
– Roasting;
– Competition;
– Street Market;
– Contract Roasting and;
– Blend Recipes.

Following the discussion guests will be treated to a specialty Ninety Plus coffee cupping sessions lead by Craig Simon himself.

Delicious food and drinks will be provided.

To RSVP by Monday 18 May click here.

We hope you can join us!

Veneziano Industry Event Cafe Biz

Craig Simon to compete in the inaugural Coffee Masters competition

CM_Barista_CraigSimonThink Tank’s Craig Simon will hit the stage later this week at the London Coffee Festival to compete in the inaugural Coffee Masters competition.

The fast-paced knockout battle format of Coffee Masters will see 20 baristas from across the globe come together to showcase their skills across a board range of disciplines, including:

• Cupping
• Brewing
• Latte Art
• The Order Challenge
• The Signature Drink
• The Espresso Blend

Craig’s signature drink is a mouth-watering ‘Old Fashioned’ with cold brew Ninety Plus Gesha coffee, whiskey, Angostura bitters and grapefruit juice. Check out his application video here.

He’ll have some rockstar judges to impress including Andrew Tolley, Gwilym Davis, Salvatore Malatesta, Anette Moldvaer and Anne Lunell. For more information on Coffee Masters click here.