Melbourne’s World Coffee Champion

We speak to Anthony Douglas, crowned 2022 World Barista Champion last October, about his favourite beverage.

He’s worked in hospitality all his adult life, but Anthony Douglas’s interest in coffee was first piqued when a restaurant he worked in had a coffee machine. He’d occasionally make a coffee, and from there life changed. “I don’t know why it was,” he says, “but I fell in love with the process of making coffee during that time. Once I left that job, the only thing I wanted to do was make coffee.”

Barista Anthony Douglas, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Moving On Up
It took four years of working in commercial cafes to build his resumé before applying for a job with Axil Coffee Roasters. That was nine years ago. At the time, staff members were involved in coffee competitions, and Anthony quickly became interested in the preparation that went into them. “I got involved myself in 2015 then proceeded to compete in the ASCA (Australian Specialty Coffee Association) Barista Championships each year for the next seven years,” he says. “Finally, I took out the Australian title in 2022, granting me the opportunity to compete and win at the 2022 World Barista Championships.”

The Big Event

The actual competition involves baristas preparing three courses of coffee – espresso, milk and a signature drink – over 15 minutes and presenting them to a panel of four judges. “During that time, I delivered a speech including my concept, information about the coffee I’d used and how I served it for each course,” Anthony explains. The judges taste each coffee and score each on quality and how well it matches the competitor’s description.

“It was an incredible experience for me to finally win. This is something I’ve dedicated a large chunk of my life to obsessing over and preparing for, so it was amazing for it to finally come into fruition.”

Next Steps

The benefits of competing, says Anthony, are many. Skills are perfected, contestants get to meet people in the industry, and it sets the winner up for the future. “Now that I’m World Champion, a series of opportunities have come my way, and when I start my own venture one day having this title and reputation will help it be more of a success.”

Barista Anthony Douglas, 2022 World Barista Championship Finalists, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

2022 World Barista Championship Finalists, Melbourne

Barista Anthony Douglas, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Anthony’s top 5 coffee spots


  1. Axil Melbourne Central would be my top spot. The quality of coffee is great, of course, but the brunch is some of the best you’ll find around the city and elsewhere.
  2. Seven Seeds has always been a staple when it comes to specialty coffee, and serves all-round good coffee and food.
  3. Udom House is a cute little cafe with a Thai-inspired drinks and food menu. The owner and team are extremely passionate and there are some very interesting drinks and dishes.
  4. Similar to Udom House is 279 Victoria St, a Japanese-inspired cafe where you’ll find a series of interesting drink and food options.
  5. ACOFFEE is a boutique roastery and cafe in Collingwood. The coffee is very clean, light and sweet, and the cafe itself has a really bright ambience.

A version of this article first appeared in our autumn 2023 Melbourne and Victoria Official Guide.