Posts Tagged 'New Zealand Barista Championship'

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


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….


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.


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)


…and so it begins.

All the competitors have arrived and been debriefed for todays event, taking part for their chance to win New Zealands most prized coffee title – New Zealand Barista Champion.

Barista Finals

All the best to the competitors today, I will put a full post of the day up this afternoon.


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.


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!


One Down, Two To Go


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,


…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


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, 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 ( 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!


Pause and Appreciate,