Hugh was awarded the fifth place position at the world championship, which has been hosted at CafeShow in Seoul, South Korea.

He competed in the finals against the national champions of Hong Kong, USA, UK, Japan and Canada. The official rankings are:

1st place – Dale Harris, UK 

2nd place – Miki Suzuki, Japan

3rd place – Pao Chiu, Hong Kong 

4th place – Ben Put, Canada

5th place – Hugh Kelly, Australia

6th place – Kyle Ramage, USA

In his finals performance, Hugh again used a green-tip geisha coffee from Finca Deborah in Volcán, Panama, produced by Jamison Savage. Jamison was in Seoul as Hugh was announced as World Champion.

“Participating in the WBC and watching my competitors work with the coffees on the world stage has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life,” said Jamison.

“The attention to detail, the care, and the camaraderie is something akin to a Formula 1 racing team.”

Hugh used different dosing and extraction techniques to achieve different flavours for the judges. His flavour descriptors for the espresso included orange blossom, rose petal, orange and strawberry. The milk-based course was described as strawberry and caramel, with a creamy texture. The judges were asked to assess the aroma of both of these courses before tasting.

For his signature course, Hugh again combined two extraction styles of the geisha coffee. To the more concentrated espresso, he added a blackcurrant reduction to enhance dark fruit notes. He then created a fairy floss from a mixture of raw sugar and freeze-dried Manuka honey, before dissolving this floss with the other espresso.

The descriptors for the signature course included floral aromatics, with orange blossom, rose, peach and a hint of red cherry on the finish.

“Creativity is also a hallmark of the experience,” said Jamison. “For example, the fact that [Hugh] Kelly has been able to bend flavours of the coffee during comp using different extraction techniques is nothing short of magical,” said Jamison.

“In the end, teamwork is what has brought it all to fruition and that is the greatest reward.”

A highlight of Hugh’s performance was the use of a new milk machine, which was created through collaboration between ONA Coffee’s Angus Mackie and engineers at Breville Australia.

“My initial thoughts were to use a machine like this in [barista] competitions,” said Angus.“I thought that if we could find a new way to heat milk while maintaining its natural flavour, it would make milk-based courses shine more.”

We are exceptionally proud to once again have a representative from ONA Coffee and Australia take a world title. 

Congratulations to Dale, all the finalists and to all the baristas who participated in this year’s event.

A special thanks to Hugh’s sponsors, including Samsonite, Sanremo Coffee Machines, KeepCup, Heifei Hengxin Environmental Science and Tech (HXIN), Riverina Fresh, the Australian Specialty Coffee Association, Capital Prints, Breville, Cloudcatcher Roastery and Pesado.

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