Adelaide coffee guru, Matthew Smithies from Five Senses Coffee, has been crowned the Western Region Cup Tasting Champion with a perfect score in the final round.

The Barista Championship circuit consists of four events: Barista, Latte Art, Cup Tasting and Coffee in Good Spirits. Barista is the main event showcasing a gruelling 15 routines, where competitors present 12 drinks to a panel of four judges in front of 4 judges. Meanwhile, latte art brings out the budding creatives to demonstrate their latte art designs, Cup Tasting is a fast and furious event designed for competitors with refined palate skills, while Coffee in Good Spirits explores the combo of coffee and alcohol.

Cup tasting competitors are dealt eight groups of three coffees and have to select the odd coffee from each group. The winner is the competitor who picks the highest number of correct coffees in the quickest time. The Western Region competition consists of baristas from both South Australia and Western Australia, with the winners in each category securing a place in the National finals at the Melbourne International Coffee Expo in February. With around eight Cup Tasters competing on the stage against each other in each round, the Cup Tasting event is always a crowd pleaser. It often feels pretty hectic as competitors rush through the tasting accompanied by a vocal crowd.

This year’s event was held at Howdy Coffee Saloon in Western Australia. Matthew blew away the competition with a perfect score of eight out of eight in the final round, giving him the deserved title of 2019 Western Region Cup Tasting Champion.

In addition to Matthew’s win, Ziggy Varamulia (also from Five Senses Coffee) was crowned 2019 Western Region Barista Champion. Held over the weekend during Adelaide’s one and only coffee festival, the Unley Double Shot Coffee Fiesta, the Western Region Barista Championships require competitors to present a collection of four espressos, four cappuccinos and four signature drinks to a panel of four sensory judges. We had a great panel of experienced judges, including Ben Bicknell, Matthew Smithies, Adrian Mancuso and Chris Jackson from Five Senses Coffee.

Ziggy, who is a trainer at the Five Senses Barista Academy in WA and barista at Max & Son’s on William Street in the Perth CBD, sourced his showcase coffee from Ethiopia. His signature drink included four shots of the Tade GG, 70g of wild Jasmine organic Kombucha and 15g of mandarin-infused lychee juice. He then put it through a nitros syphon before adding a mind-blowing dusting of popping candy.

As a barista, I want to share the intimate stories behind the coffee. Then I want to deliver wow moments and lasting memories of coffees for my customers,” said Ziggy when asked why he competes.

Along side the main event, the Western Region Latte Art Championships and Western Region Brewers Cup Championships were closely fought titles.


Barista Championship placings

Champion: Ziggy Varamulia from Five Senses Coffee and Max & Son’s (WA)

Runner-up: Rhys Woods from (SA)

3rd place: Rummy Keshet from Off Shoot Coffee Roasters (WA)

Cup Tasting placings

Champion: Matthew Smithies: Five Senses Coffee (SA)

Runner-up: Ru Teow from Laika (WA)

3rd place – Cheng Paul (WA)

Latte Art Championship placings

Champion: Andy Seng from Fiori Coffee (WA)

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