On Friday, November 8th, the city of Sydney hosted one of the largest coffee parties in its history at Single Origin Roasters. Sprudge.com correspondent Matt Davis was on hand to observe at the event – these are his photos, notes, and soy / drag observations.
For all that it's worth, coffee was the real winner on the day as 350 of the state's brightest (and frankly most attractive) coffee professionals packed out Single Origin's warehouse space in Botany for a massive coffee party. Fueled by spit roasted pigs a la Three Blue Ducks and kegs of cold beer by 4 Pines, plus a litany of other sponsors and the bustling and hospitable Single Origin crew themselves.
With key sponsor La Marzocco putting a GS-3 paddle up for the winner, the competition attracted 32 competitors from 32 different companies across the city. In the end it was Sydney's (verified) shortest barista, Jibbi Techasitthanet from Pablo & Rusty's 161 who took home the main prize with a pour dubbed the ‘double swans astride a rosetta‘.
Aside from the high drama of a latte art competition with an $8000 coffee machine up for grabs, the biggest highlight was surely watching former World Barista champion Mike Phillips (Handsome Coffee Roasters, Los Angeles) presiding over some sort of heady latte art cock-off between Sydney's “Best Soy Barista” Dan Yee (Salvage Coffee, Sydney) and 2013 World Barista Champion runner up Matt Perger (St. Ali Family, Melbourne). Mr. Yee triumphed against Mr. Perger in the soy-debacle, earning victory on the basis of intricacy and scale (footage exists).
As advertised, the event was equal parts latte art throwdown, “Gong Show” parade of embarrassments, and various feats of strength. Human will was tested. Barista skills were measured. Title cards were presented in drag, or via plushie costume, or both, as pictured below.
Sydney is Australia's largest metropolis, and yet, this city is endlessly chasing Melbourne's more established, globally recognized coffee shadow. But for one magical, comical evening in November 2013, at least 350 people left Botany heartened in the knowledge that Sydney was home to the biggest coffee party in the world that night, and they were all a part of it. Melbourne might get it right, but Sydney gets there harder.