Archive for the 'General' Category

Our Brew Blog Site

Our Brew is a site where a collection of New Zealand’s leading baristas and coffee aficionados review, and comment, on cafes, roasteries and New Zealand coffee culture.

Their aim is to support local cafes that are really doing well for themselves, and the industry, by producing great coffee in a pleasant setting. Also, to provide you with a greater knowledge of the coffee industry and the local events that take place.

Current contributors include:

Hans Pronk (Owner/Barista, ME Coffee Boutique/Merito Espresso Roastery)

Everyone is welcome to enjoy the site and free to leave remarks, especially on any cafe’s reviewed or that others think should be looked at.

NZ Barista Championship Finals

Today saw a great number of coffee lovers come together to perform, taste and appreciate great coffee. Hosted in the classy C4 roastery in Christchurch with a great atmosphere all day long.

C4 Roastery

The day started at 10am for the competitors with their briefing from Emma – after a quick reminder of the does and dont’s, it was then straight into practice time.

The event was initiated with the opening welcome from the NZCRA president, Chris Dillon. After a few sponsor mentions and the introduction of the judges, it was time for the calibration performance from Lawry Trewavas of Espresso 2 Go.

The competitors then competed in the following order

Robert Hulse – Planet EspressoRob Hulse

Frank Hsu – Mojo CoffeeFrank Hsu

Hideyuki Kono – Vivace EspressoHide Kono

Carl Sara – Muffin BreakCarl Sara

David Huang – Espresso WorkshopDavid Huang

Nik Bruce-Smith – Muffin BreakNik

Nick Clark – Mojo CoffeeNick Clark

Richard Legg – Sage CafeRichard Legg

Judges:

Convener: Chris White-Altura Coffee 

Head Judge: Emma Markland Webster-Atomic Coffee Roasters

Tech 1: David Burton-Burton’s
Tech 2: Andrew Feldon-Streetwise Coffee

Sensory 1: Scott Pepler-Cerebos Gregg’s
Sensory 2: Jessica Godfrey-Caffe L’affare
Sensory 3: Brydon Price-Atomic Coffee Roasters
Sensory 4: Justin Metcalf-Somewhere in Aussie….

Judges

After a long day the finalists were announced at 5:30pm. Each and every one of the competitors did an amazing job, they are to all be commended highly – it is not an easy thing to get up in front of 7 Judges and a roastery full of people – well done.

Congratulations:

3rd David Huang – Espresso Workshop

2nd Hide Kono – Vivace Espresso

1st Carl Sara – Muffin BreakChampion Comradeship
Barista Champion - Carl Sara

Carl Sara and Ninja

 

The full set of photos (approx 450) is available on CD for $25 – email me hans (at) meritoespresso.co.nz

Christchurch Barista Throwdown

Hosted by Luciano at Luciano Espresso Bar.Luciano -

Friday night saw a great number of barista’s and coffee professionals getting together before the massive New Zealand Barista Championships to be held the next day. Luciano made the night a lot of fun, hosting his own barista throwdown in which, those that wanted (and those that didn’t), created their “best” latte art.

Luciano's Barista Throwdown 27th Feb 09 - the Spill

The title came down to a “pour-off” between Auckland’s 2nd place barista champion – Robert Hulse and Christchurch’s 1st place barista champion – Carl Sara. Congratulations to Carl for taking ut the title (and the coin)! I think it’s safe to say we all had a fun time with it.

Throwdown Champion, Carl Sara

Tomorrow at 12pm we will see the Barista Championship commence with a blast at the C4 roastery in Christchurch.

-H

 

P.S. The set of photo’s (approx 100) of tonights throwdown is available for $10 – email me hans (at) meritoespresso.co.nz

Auckland Heats – and My Performance

And the Auckland Barista Championship finalists are…

1st Place: David Huang Espresso Workshop – Epsom

2nd Place: Robert Hulse Planet Espresso – Auckland 

Wow – what a day!

That was the most intense day I have had in a while – but looking back now, I loved every bit of it. In a moment I will run through my day and routine but first, an ENORMOUS CONGRATULATIONS to David and Robert and all the guys and girls that competed – WELL DONE!

Barista Champs 09

So my day started at 6am right, I woke up got ready and then flicked up to a site around 7.10am to clean and prep my grinder – all is well.

7.45am I’m at Allpress (a huge appreciation for Russell and the team for rearranging the roastery for us) and unload the gear before briefing at 8am,

8am, Emma MW introduces herself and the array of judges to all the competitors, gives a few pointers and words of encouragement then lets us free.

Practice time is from 8.40 to 9am for me. I test my espresso and double check my profiles with a few surrounding spectators.

9am, the first performance of the day – I don’t watch, I have been advised not to, so I am going through my routine out back and slowly setting up my gear.

Fast Forward >> It’s now 10.15am (my prep time). I unpack my gear and set up as normal. Slight dilemma – I realise that my grinders are the wrong way round so I change the hoppers and grind any excess beans in the chamber – of course, in doing this I have just lost about a minute of setup time. I manage to adjust the grinds to perfection just before time but am just short of cleaning the excess grind from the bench. I know I have just lost a couple of points.

10.35am: After an intro from MC Mark, The Routine Begins “Good Morning judges …. I will be using a Guatemalan …. and now I will begin preparing my Signature Beverage.” 

My signature beverage was a mixture of lemon, lavender and sugar to make a syrup base, I prepared this on stage as it needed some time to heat. While this was happening I brewed a Cascara (coffee cherry) tea.

Cappuccino’s – I used a Guatemalan base with two other origins to give the cup a bit of body. I was happy with the shot pours and times. When it came to pouring the milk I was a little shaky and unfortunately spilt my first cappuccino. Beyond that I managed to get some nice ferns and good textured milk.

Espresso’s – Using a Guatemalan only in the espresso’s lead to a very lemony flavoured cup – the shot times were great and I served the espresso 2 + 2. Unfortunately one of the espresso’s lacked in it’s crema depth. But the taste was there.

Signature Beverage – by now I have taken the syrup off the heat and left to cool, brewed my Cascara tea and let that cool too. I add the Cascara to cream and whip that in a creamwhip. Now the creation – pouring the syrup into the base of a long-fluted shot glass I add 30ml of Guatemalan espresso and finish it with the cascara cream and lemon zest. If you like lemon then this drink would have been perfect for you.

And…after a quick clean up… TIME! 14:45

 

So, that was a little bit of fun – I had to shoot off after my run and came back to hear the finalists. Well done again to those mentioned above! In evaluation remarks from the judges I found to have scored one of the highest in sensory (82% of the overall mark) so I was very, very pleased – unfortunatly my nerves got the better of me and let down my technical. But from what I understand I made the top 5 which I am stoked about. Now to take what I have learnt and get ready for next year! 

Can’t wait for Christchurch in a week!

-H

One Down, Two To Go

WELLINGTON BARISTA CHAMPIONSHIP FINALISTS

1st place: Richard Legg Sage Cafe – Fielding

2nd place: Frank Hsu Mojo Coffee – Kent Terrace – Wellington

A HUGE WELL DONE to both the finalists and we’ll see you, and the wildcard(?), in Christchurch in February!

Barista Champs 09

So, now the the self proclaimed “coffee capital” has its finalists it is time to see just what Auckland and Christchurch can bring to the table. I suspect there will be a high calibre of talent this year – so best I stop writing here and start practising…

Until we meet again,

H

…it’s been a while…

Wow, you get so caught up in other things and then come back and realise, I haven’t posted on this blog in months – sorry there hasn’t been anything new for a while. With the New Zealand Barista Championships starting tomorrow in Wellington, it has prompted me to refresh my blog. So here it is…

2009 Barista Championship

NZBC09

So, Wellington competitors are ready to roll, starting 9am tomorrow morning at Caffe L’affare in College Street, all the best to you all! These competitions always bring a great excitement to the New Zealand coffee scene, it’s an immense buzz that seems to last a good six months, bring on more industry events I say!

I have been prepping  a bit lately for these comps and in doing so came across a few good articles, I recommend a read of Carl Sara’s recent blog at carlsara.com, he has managed to visit and involve himself with a number of events globally and has a thorough understanding of competitions and what can be gained from them. Also, flick across to Tristans blog – there is a bit there on Espresso, Cappuccino and Technical aspects of the contest and James Hoffman has written  a short exert on this too (jimseven.com). A good bit of information and perhaps motivation!

I have finally completed my Signature Beverage and am very pleased, it seems quite a process to get something palatable and that the judges will enjoy. Thanks to the chefs that helped me with this drink – to be honest, I don’t think my first idea would have gone too well. After doing two full run-thrus today I am quietly confident on the whole deal, and thankfully, the music fits perfectly.

Cappuccino Pour

A few little tips for those still needing a bit of guidance. You can find around the web a number of previous championships, make friends with some previous champions and get their input. The rules are posted online, and if you search enough you can find the distinctive changes in the rules along with a number of helpful resources including what judges are actually looking for for each point – I know this helped me!

So have a good one, remember to practise, and if your in Auckland I will see you all in a week!

NZBC Gear

Pause and Appreciate,

H


A Barista’s View

It has now been about 20 days since the heat of the Barista Championship Auckland Regionals. With time to relax and gain my concentration and reassess my passion for the entire coffee world, I am once again looking for ways to improve my ability.

James Hoffman’s regular posts (www.jimseven.com) are always an inspiration to push further development, using this, a few of the judges comments on improvement and working the “daily grind” I slowly build a greater appreciation of this vastly common consumable.

It seems to me that little old NZ, although we all love our espresso based coffee fixes, are dawdling along in the same old, same old. It is time that we focus on differentiating ourselves once more, we have such a vast percentage to population of coffee consumers that it is demanded of us to be on the forefront of new initiatives and ideas within this industry. Instead of drinking “Lattes” and “Large Double Flat Whites”, shouldn’t we instead be coming up with new methods and defining this very culture.

It may sound obsessive, but those in the industry and with a passion for the culture should agree that coffee in it’s entirety offers so much more than the average consumer consciously contemplates.

There are a few things that I am working on to subtly change how we experience our regular delight, but until they are realised I challenge fellow baristas, roasters, cafe owners and consumers to bring a unique experience to your cup.

Pouring at Auckland Regionals

I’m sure  this competition has done well to open my mind further, lets bring on more industry events. barista jams and the likes.

Until next time,

H