Posts Tagged 'New Zealand Coffee'

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.

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

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.