Erica Kim, Head Trainer and Quality Control at The Studio Beans and Barista with Dukes Coffee Roasters has won the first Marco SP9 Brew Master Challenge.

The contest, aimed at baristas and coffee professionals, was launched in Australia this year by Marco Beverage Systems, a leading global provider in beverage solutions.

Competitors took part in an initial head-to-head knock-out before progressing to the second round. Finalists in the second round were challenged to develop and present the optimal chosen recipe and showcase their sensory knowledge, brewing, and presentation skills.

Finalists presented their brewed coffee to the three sensory judges: Demelza Jones; Founder of SameCup, a company that aims to highlight, connect and empower through various products, platforms and programs in coffee, Nicole Novak from Five Senses; certified Q-Grader and World Brewers Cup judge and Harry Ko; 2015 and 2016 Australian Cup Tasters Champion, 8th place in the World Brewers Cup in 2022.

Erica beat out 10 other competitors to win the title. Gemma Kiernan, Head of Marketing at Marco Beverage Systems said “Every competitor brought their own unique style to the competition, so it was incredibly hard to tell who would win. In the end, Erica’s warmth and personality really stood out as she was presenting her chosen brew. Erica demonstrated how the Marco SP9 allowed her to unlock the very best flavour and characteristics from the coffee whilst giving her the space and time to engage with the judges and audience.”

Erica, who started her career as a barista in an ice-cream shop 4 years ago, also won an SP9 Twin for her chosen café or roastery. She hopes to donate the system to a coffee training space that supports and works with members of their local community.

Erica says: I started working as barista 4 years ago. It wasn’t easy and I only made 10-15 cups of coffee every day, but it made me so much happier than any other job in my life. I was so happy to compete with all the competitors who are star baristas that I always wanted to be like. It was an honour to be on the stage with them and I won’t forget that everyone gave me a warm hug after the competition. That’s why I’d like to donate the machine to a space that values barista training or provides them with the kind of support and help I received 4 years ago.”

The event took place in the from Victoria Arduino Experience Lab with equipment support from Five Senses Coffee, coffee sponsored by Caravela and Floozy Coffee and brewing gear from, ECRE, Bombora and AMC Supplies

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