Certificate in Commercial Cookery (1994)
Justin Metcalf is a coffee connoisseur par excellence. He took his first shot of professional coffee culture working as an assistant chef during a backpacking tour of Europe. When he arrived back in Australia he landed a job as an operations manager with Muffin Break.
The director of Muffin Break had a passion for good coffee and travelled the world sourcing beans and producing blends. Working in this environment taught Justin much about the delicate processes of coffee preparation and encouraged him to design his own course.
In 1999 he approached Box Hill Institute’s Shaun Fincham and they developed a barista course together. Over the following months he spent one day each week learning the intricacies of coffee through a combination of research and experimentation. As he roasted each coffee bean variety to different degrees he began to understand how each disclosed the attributes of its parent country, region, and soil.
Fascinated, he bought his own roaster and began roasting beans in his shed. His obsession landed him a job as a full time coffee roaster. The hours were long and the job was physically demanding (he lifted 60kg bags of coffee), but the process taught him how to prepare coffee properly and laid the groundwork for his appointment as a World Barista Judge™.
After entering smaller barista competitions, the Australian Coffee Speciality Association invited him to judge at the World Barista Championships in Oslo, and in 2004 he was certified as an international judge by the World Barista Committee. In the same year he was handed the honour of judging the final of the 2004 World Barista Championships.
In 2005 he became the first Australian to be appointed Head Judge of the World Barista Final in Seattle. He fulfilled the role again the following year in Berne, Switzerland, before being appointed Chairman and one of three international experts to the prestigious WBC Judge and Certification Committee.
In addition to his judging responsibilities he travels overseas to provide training and source Fairtrade beans, hosts a radio gig on 3RRR, and owns his own business, Espresso Essentials. Between all these commitments he even found time to compete in the first Latte Art Championship in Singapore, where he finished a respectable third.
Justin’s dedication to this simple drink might seem strange, but coffee is more than just a drink; it is an institution of life. For millions of Australians and countless people worldwide it is the start of every day, the trustworthy study-aid, and the first tentative step toward a relationship. Justin’s efforts empower and encourage baristas to make these moments hit another level of special.