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Tilly Sproule | Tim Adams Specialty Coffee

Tilly Sproule | Tim Adams Specialty Coffee

Tilly Sproule of Tim Adams Specialty Coffee on the Sunshine Coast has won The 8th Fushan Cup International Barista Championship of China.

Tilly was one of 22 baristas from around the world, including the United States, Canada, Germany, Thailand, Colombia, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, China and Australia to compete in the exclusive invitation-only event in Hainan on June 6. 

Tilly’s routine focused on Terroir, which is the combination of variables that influence a coffee’s character and complexity. This can be anything from the growing conditions (climate, soil and altitude) of the farm or region, to varietal of coffee and even processing techniques. 

“Throughout each course I explored different elements of Terroir and how these directly influenced my coffee’s flavour. I was fortunate enough to work with a very inspiring and humble producer in Panama, Jamison Savage. I shared a Geisha (superior variety of coffee) from his farm, Morgan Estate, which was processed using a new and innovative technique called Whole Cherry Carbonic Maceration,” Tilly says.

The routine was an extension of what Tilly presented at the 2019 Australian Specialty Coffee Association National Barista Championship in February, where she was the only female to make the final stage of the competition and came in fifth place.

Tilly’s espresso in the first course, displayed tasting notes of yellow nectarine and paw paw, with orange-like acidity and a very silky texture. Then in the milk-based course, the flavours transformed into a delicate peaches and cream, with a caramel ice cream quality. 

“The milk I used was very special, it was a unique blend that I have been working hard to perfect over the last six months – combining the milk of two breeds of cow, Guernsey and Friesian,” she says.

“Due to each cow’s specific diets (grass fed versus grain fed) the percentages of sugar, butter fats and proteins are different, therefore allowing me to manipulate the ratios of each to find the perfect harmony between sweetness and texture to complement the espresso. 

“To make it even more special, we used a process called Freeze Distillation to create the highest concentration of flavour from my milk and this is where we are able to achieve the melted ice cream quality.”

Finally, Tilly’s signature beverage was a show stopping success, and saw her take the principles of Jamison Savage’s aforementioned Carbonic Maceration technique and apply it to dried coffee cherry skins (cascara), which were also sourced from his farm. 

“I fermented these in a glass barrel over 36 hours to create a concentrate that was delicious, but I wanted to find more structure and depth to the drink,” she says. 

“Knowing I was travelling to China, I wanted to work with a local fruit to bring connection between Terroir of where we were and flavour. I decided on papaya and reduced it down into a syrup with my cascara fermentation to create a syrup which had flavour qualities like peach and cacao.”

Upon winning the competition, Tilly says it’s an indescribable feeling, having represented not only her team here on the Sunshine Coast, but the Australian coffee industry as a whole.

“Our entire team at Tim Adams Specialty Coffee work extremely hard for months, so to come home with the champion trophy, I feel very honoured to have not only done my team proud, but our Australian coffee community and also myself.”

Photo: Bliss Photography by Leah

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