Charlie Chu of St Ali shares why it was more than first time luck he won the 2020 Southern Region TCX Cup Tasters Championship.

When did you begin competing in ASCA championships?
The last Southern Regional TCX Cup Tasters was when I competed for the first time.

What inspired you to take part?
I don’t know exactly what it was, but I was sure that I wanted to compete when I found out that the Cup Tasters competition exists.

What were some of the challenger you faced in the beginning?
My will and sureness of the effects from practicing and persistent training for sensory training by myself.

How were these overcome?
I took part in two sensory smackdowns in 2019 (first time, at Blume Coffee Roastery and second time at Five Senses) and I got first place in both of them. So, the gave me enough confidence about what I was doing.  

What is it about Cup Tasters that made you choose it over the other competitions?
This discipline is only one which has a ‘right answer’ in the competition. It only depends on the competitor’s individual ability. 

What have you learnt about coffee through competing?
No matter what it is, challenging [yourself] is meaningful and [shows your] worth in coffee industry. And also, coffee keeps changing every each second [and it keeps you in the know]. 

How has it impacted your career?
It helps to prove myself to others. And people tend to respect and trust it, which is great and I’m grateful.  

What is your best memory from competing in coffee championships?
People around me came to see and cheer me on. They were together with me in the moment. I won’t forget the moment when we got the result that I got in the first place, people gave a shout. 

What are some of the easy mistakes you’ve made early in your competition journey?
When I choose a cup that I think is the answer, it has to be 100% sure. Otherwise, It might be a different cup to what I thought for reasons I missed.  

What advice would you give others thinking about competing?
It’s better to enjoy the journey that you choose to go on. Otherwise, it would be quite lonely and too tough to keep it up. Hang in there with the joyfulness and meaning that you make.