Posts Tagged 'Barista'

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.



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

Christchurch Regional Heats


1st Place: Carl Sara Muffin Break – Christchurch

2nd Place: Hideyuki Kono Vivace Espresso – Christchurch

Barista Champs 09

The regional heats have been great and produced a fine calibre of talent this year, congratulations to all the place-getters that will now be in the Finals (C4 Coffee, Christchurch) for their chance to take the title of New Zealand Barista Champion, and represent at the Atlanta WBC 2009.


1st place: Richard Legg Sage Cafe – Fielding 

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


1st Place: David Huang Espresso Workshop – Epsom

2nd Place: Robert Hulse Planet Espresso – Auckland 


1st Place: Carl Sara Muffin Break – Christchurch

2nd Place: Hideyuki Kono Vivace Espresso – Christchurch

Talking a bit with some of the finalists it is not surprising to see how they achieved their placings. There is an extraordinary amount of talent around – and what I love about these comps is that each year, talent is shared and thereafter developed in coming years. It brings a very healthy check on the way we as baristas operate, and hopefully drives us all to develop our skills and understanding that little bit more.

For those in Christchurch for the Finals, I look forward to seeing you there.



Recently I purchased a Compak K6 Shop Grinder (after the announcement of Compak being used in the WBC). The grinder does wonders for me in its stepless, micro adjustment. The freedom of grind has allowed me to near perfect the grind for many different brew methods. However, this post is not about my grinder but grinders in general.

Recently I took apart a Mazzer Major to fix a problem with the central shaft. The grinder had stop grinding yet I could hear the motor continue to buzz away. In my extensive knowledge of this machine (aah nada) I removed every exterior piece of the grinder and started to have a look around. Basically to say that the cause of the problem was that the grinder had been adjusted too fine while there were still beans between the burrs, restricting the possibility of any movement (most probably not an issue when using a robur but as we know, the major is flat). After a little clean she was a beaut once more.

The essence of this is to bring light to the need of regular cleaning and maintenance to grinders. All too often they are forgotten. Earlier in the year, when I was still Baristing, we would always have an extensive maintenance and cleaning procedure for the machine but never the grinder. I am saddened to have left now as I would love to see the difference in extractions having cleaned that grinder.

What’s more of a shock to me currently, and this will be rectified soon, is the state of my personal grinder. Having spieled about others my own is looking a little grubby too. Ouch!

My Grinder!!!

The oils in the coffee can turn sharp and progress to truly pungent as they break down, not to mention the state of the trapped beans and their effect both on future grinds and the grinding performance of the machine. Late last year I came across a natural rice based cleaner that seems to do wonders for these grinders. I also recommend if you have the know how, that you should remove the blades every so often and give them a good clean out.

Happy grinding!

Merito Shout Out

Merito Logo 

Here’s a little shout out to Merito Espresso. Those who know me know that I work for this roasting company. I have been here since January 07 and loving it!

Merito in Daisy’s

Merito Espresso – Hand Crafted in New Zealand

  • At Merito Espresso we aim to provide coffee that makes getting up in the morning about as good as it can get.
  • Merito Espresso is a small company that prides itself on delivering the freshest coffee possible.
  • We import the finest beans from around the world, choosing only premium product grown on Coffea Arabica shrubs.
  • The beans are then hand roasted in small batches to ensure perfection and let rest for the ideal taste.
  • We love New Zealand just like it is and to be sustainable will not package in foil bags.

Visit to see more of us.


New Zealand Coffee Scene

Upon reading such blogs as those listed in the blogroll to the right I have realised that the caliber of barista’s, coffee enthusiasts and professionals is much higher globally than we see here in New Zealand. It appears to me that our latte drinking culture is not so much focused on the essence or foundation of good coffee so long as they have something hot to drink. While I realise this generalisation is somewhat far stretched, it is the closest comparison when measuring against the depth of intelligence and care of brew amongst many others I have recently come across in the coffee environment.

It is challenging and thought provoking to read the blogs of James, Tristan, Steve, Dave and many others. It reveals that there is still much to be learnt by so many within New Zealand’s coffee culture. In my first 6 or 7 years making coffee I only ever really focused on pulling the perfect shot and complimenting that with the silk textured milk.  It wasn’t until a couple of years ago, with the help of Auckland Barista Champion Ben Boyle that I began to look deeper into the essence of the entire coffee process.

Having now an understanding of green bean variations, the effects of climate conditions and growth variations – the enormous masterpiece of roasting and blending, coupled with a more detailed focus on the perfect grind, water temperature and extraction methods – and of course the help of some professionals along the way – I can now say that I have learnt the beginnings of how to appreciate good coffee.

It is a vision now that I share with a number of others in New Zealand to portray a greater appreciation nationwide and hopefully lift the entire standard of coffee throughout New Zealand.

In a post I read the other day, James mentioned the focus that one particular farmer had on working with the end barista to work together in producing a distinct coffee  – knowing the opinions of end users and establishing favoured coffee characteristics. An idea that I think we could do with seeing a lot more of.

The overall idea – that the coffee be appreciated for the complexity of the process from cherry to cup, and the education to customers as to what really is a great tasting cup of our finest black.

Introducing 15twentyfive

Hi All,

15twentyfive is a frequently updated blog site that will detail my personal experiences with many forms of coffee. My intention is to regularly post various stories on roasts, brews, blends and the general day to day functions of the barista.

The name arises from a personal obsession I have with the 15ml Ristretto at a 25 Second extraction – still a favourite of mine.

Personally,  I have been “Barista-ing” for some 8 years now in a number of small to large cafe’s around Auckland, New Zealand. Most recently, at a Cafe/Roastery where we would produce in excess of 600-700 coffee’s per day. These days I am roasting coffee for the newly founded Merito Espresso.

Anyway – that is me. Please feel free to drop me a reply and have a chat.

 Myself at Work/Play