Representing Ozone at the UK Barista Championships

It's time for the final round of the UK Barista Championships—the country’s most prestigious coffee competition that sees baristas and coffee experts prepare a 15-minute routine, going head-to-head for the ultimate chance to compete at the World Championships in Melbourne.

Ozone’s Wholesale Account Manager Anson Goodge is competing in the finals this week. He trained with none other than Dale Harris, Head of Product & Business Development, and legendary 2017 World Barista Champion title. Anson will present three innovative drinks—a milk drink, a shot of espresso and his own signature beverage. It’s an exciting moment for the industry to have some fun and see some of the exciting, new trends hitting the specialty coffee world.

We caught up with Anson to hear more about his journey to the UKBCs and how he’s preparing, how the specialty coffee world is evolving and more. Good luck Anson!

How did you first get involved in specialty coffee and what do you like most about being part of this industry?

I got into coffee over a decade ago, working in a restaurant kitchen and drinking a lot of coffee to stay caffeinated over long shifts. I’ve always been naturally curious, so one morning I asked the waitstaff if I could learn more about making coffee. That basically kickstarted the path and coffee career I’m on now—I enjoyed brewing it so much that I decided to start working in coffee and around coffee machines to learn everything I could and see where it might take me.

The industry is a lot larger and more diverse than people realise. There are so many different avenues you can take to explore a career in coffee and always so much more to learn, which is what keeps it interesting.

Why do you think coffee competitions are important to our industry, and what made you decide to compete in the UKBCs?

Coffee competitions are important to enabling the industry to develop and grow. They give baristas and roasteries the opportunity to invest in research and development, and often where you see crazy ideas or new coffee trends come from.

Competing is an opportunity to push your skills and tap into new areas of the coffee industry. If you’re working behind a coffee bar, or in a wholesale coffee role like mine, you’re not necessarily required to have super in-depth knowledge about the entire coffee industry or might not get to flex the same skills day-to-day as you get to when you’re competing. I like having a reason to continue learning and developing my skills, and exploring new parts of the industry.

How do you think the specialty coffee scene is evolving? What changes do you hope to see within the world of coffee or in coffee competitions?

There’s so much great thinking and ideas coming out of competitions, I’d like to see more of those trickle their way down into the industry. There’s been a big push for more quality in the last few years. I hope the next big pushes are in the direction of sustainability, and understanding and improving our footprint, both at the farm but also what we actively do at our cafés day-to-day.

What’s cool about the industry is that we’re seeing specialty pop up in a lot more places, not just in cafés. It’s great that you’re now able to go to a pub, hotel or restaurant and experience quality, delicious coffee that’s just as good as any specialty shop.

What is your advice for new baristas or those new to the industry who want to learn the craft?

Focus on the basics and don’t overthink it. The hardest part of competing as a beginner is the fear of the unknown, and the best way to overcome that is to keep it simple, stick to what’s important and focus on executing the basics really well.

What’s your favourite way to brew coffee at home?

The last coffee I brewed at home was cold brew. It’s simple, easy and always there in the fridge when I need it. But I like to go out and experience coffee more, see the baristas making it and being in a café. It’s about the whole experience and not just having a coffee.

When you’re not brewing at home, where is your favourite place to get a coffee?

I probably go to Popham’s more than any other café, both for the pastries and for the great coffee.

Anson is competing in the UKBCs with an awesome, rare and award-winning Panama Geisha that our sourcing team recently got a hold of. Check out our newest coffees to explore what our roasters have been working on recently.