Mike Wells, head barista and coffee trainer with First Pour Adelaide at Veneziano Coffee Roasters, has won the weekend’s South Australian (SA) Barista Championship title held at the Royal Adelaide Show in Wayville, South Australia.
Competing for the third time, Mike’s results to date include placing 7th in the 2012 Australian Barista Championship, 2nd in both the 2012 SA Barista and Latte Art Championships and 3rd in the 2011 SA Barista Championship.
Hard work and dedication have paid off for Mike who’s been preparing for the 2013 round of competitions since the previous national competition ended back in May in Melbourne earlier this year. He is now eligible to compete for the title of 2013 Australian Barista Champion to be held at the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival in March 2013.
“My favourite part of preparing for competition is by far the process of selecting my coffee and creating the blend,” explains Mike. His blend for the SA competition was an heirloom Ethiopian Tchembe pulp natural combined with a fully washed and sundried Guatemala Santa Clara.
The coffee exhibited a floral aroma with hints of clean and juicy cherry, giving it a lovely vibrant acidity; notes of strawberry and grape with a light cocoa undertone and fruity sweetness. “But for me the best part of the blend is the wine-like mouthfeel and long finish,” says Mike.
Co-owners of Veneziano Coffee Roasters in SA, Mario Macri and Remo Russo are understandably very proud of their baristas’ achievements.
“We are absolutely thrilled with all that Mike has achieved in the short time that he’s been with us and I think it’s important to point out that a lot of his preparation happens in his own time, which demonstrates the level of commitment a barista must adhere to if he (or she) is serious about succeeding at this level of competition,” says Mario.
In other news, Mike’s colleague and talented Veneziano newcomer Ramy Massoud has placed second-runner up in the SA Latte Art and Brewers Cup Championships, his first time ever competing.
“They are both fortunate to have the backing of a company as dedicated to specialty coffee as Veneziano is and with a huge pool of talent to draw on to assist with their personal development as a successful baristas, we expect to see even more from them both in the future”, says Remo, adding “No pressure though!”
Veneziano’s well-accomplished baristas available for mentoring the newer recruits include Craig Simon (Australian Barista Champion 2012), Erin Sampson (3rd World Latte Art, 2009) and Jean-Paul Sutton (Queensland Barista Champion 2011 and national finalist 2009 – 2012).
The Australian state and national coffee championships are run under the auspices of industry body the AustralAsian Specialty Coffee Association (AASCA) and are the only recognised path through to the World Barista Championship, also to be held in Melbourne in 2013, in an Australian first.
Veneziano Coffee Roasters – specialty roasters, supporter of direct trade and with producers and cooperatives, on-site world class barista training school, First Pour cafés espresso bars and coffee showrooms, home of Australian barista, latte art, cupping and roasting champions and licenced Q cupper, recipient of countless awards and proud supplier to over 500 of Australia’s best cafes.
Ramy Massoud with his Latte Art second runner-up award.