ASCA JUDGE FEATURE: LAUREN STOKES
Lauren’s coffee career started out during her university days when she was working at one of the oldest cafés on Lygon Street. On one of the busiest days of the year their Barista didn’t show up, and she was thrown in the deep end working the coffee machine!
She then worked as a Barista at a few cafés around Melbourne before moving to London, where she really found a love for Specialty coffee. She stumbled across a coffee bar in the back of an organic grocery store one evening and started talking coffee with one of the owners. Within a couple of weeks, Andrew Tolley, one of three siblings who owned Taylor Street Baristas hired Lauren as their first staff member – that was in 2006! Lauren has been in the industry for a total of 15 years, working across everything from wholesale, to machinery, to green bean trading.
Q: What’s your ASCA Judging experience?
A: Since 2014 I have judged at both the regional and national level, and have been a head judge for the past three years. This year, I took on the role of the Southern Region Competition Manager. It has been incredible to watch the speed at which the competitions have grown over the last 5 years.
Q: Can you explain how the Brewers Cup Championship works for those who might be watching for the first time?
A: Brewers Cup is a manual filter brewing competition. It focuses on the competitors ability to brew to the highest standard and to provide an excellent service experience.
There are two parts to the Brewers Cup Championship, Open Service and Compulsory Service. For Open Service, the competitor uses any whole bean coffee of their choice, accompanying the service of the beverages with a presentation about the coffee. The presentation generally includes information on why the coffee was chosen, the brewing recipe and the expected sensory notes the judges can expect to find.
For Compulsory Service, competitors are all given the same coffee, water and grinder and asked to brew 3 beverages, using the brewing device of their choice. The Judges are isolated from the competitors and judge the beverages blind. They use the same sensory score sheet as the open round, however there are no points for service in this aspect of the competition. The Compulsory round is a real test of the competitors brewing skills, as all the parameters between the competitors are level.
You can catch Lauren at the ASCA Australian Coffee Championships at MICE2019 – early bird ticket sales close this Friday 30 November, click here to get yours now!