Coffee: The Breakfast of Champions
Insights from Anthony Douglas the 2022 World Barista Champion from Axil Coffee Roasters, 322 Burwood Road, Hawthorn.
Melbourne’s love of coffee can be traced back in part to the arrival of Italian immigrants in the post-WWII years. For the first time, locals were exposed to exciting new concoctions like espresso, as more and more boutique coffee houses opened up around our city in the 1950s. Since then, Melbourne has become world-renowned for its love of the bean.
Glenferrie Hawthorn is home to not one, but two Axil Coffee Roasters, a mere 250 metres a part. Their flagship cafe and roasting facility at 322 Burwood Road and a smaller cafe at 677 Glenferrie Road. At the Burwood Road cafe, barista Anthony Douglas has achieved near-celebrity status since becoming the 2022 World Barista Champion, making him the country’s top coffee wiz.
As Australia’s National Barista Champion, Anthony represented the nation in a field of 45 competitors from across the world at the World Championships. The final was down to six competitors and Anthony was victorious with a score of 499.5, 30 points ahead of United States, followed by United Kingdom (457), Japan (445.5), Canada (400) and Sweden (391.5).
What makes a great cup of coffee as opposed to a ‘regular’ one?
A: Understanding the variables involved and their impact as opposed to just going through the motions.
How much of the quality is down to the choice of beans?
A: Starting with a good raw product to begin
will always achieve better results, but I also feel a lot of baristas underestimate how much potential they can extract from a coffee through refining their knowledge and skill.
How much is down to the barista?
A: Regardless of how good the product you’re working with is, the final expression can be completely different depending on the barista.
How much of baristaing is instinct/skill?
A: I think it’s a 50/50 split. The longer you make coffee whilst really paying attention to the impact you’re having along every step of the way, you start to pick up on visuals, cues, and develop muscle memory to the point you don’t need to think about what you’re doing so much and can rely on intuition and feel a little more.
What is the correct brewing time and milk temperature for the best result?
A: Depending on the roaster most brew times will sit between 25-30 seconds and as a standard most people enjoy milk steamed between 60-65 degrees. Me personally 55-60 degrees.
Anthony has been officially recognised as the World Barista Champion after his success at the finals of the World Barista Championship on 30 September 2022 in Melbourne. Anthony has been brewing coffee for 12 years and spent nine of those at Axil Coffee Roasters on Burwood Road, Hawthorn.