NZ Barista Championships 2011

We’ve spent a couple of really interesting weekends around coffee experts recently – the local and then national barista competition to see who was crowned best coffee maker in the country. The winner represents New Zealand at the World Barista Championships in Bogata in June.

The competition is very precise – just 15 minutes to make each of the 4 judges an espresso, a cappuccino and a signature drink (must involve coffee, no alcohol and showcase coffee in some way). Points are awarded for flavour, technique, coffee knowledge and experience. The contestants wear a microphone and have to talk through what they’re doing and are under close scrutiny from the judges – watching everything – how much coffee they spill from the grinder, how much milk is left over, and how tidy their work station is.

We knew one of the competitors quite well, Massimo from Fuel, plus recognised a lot of the other baristas from around town competing in the Wellington champs a couple of weekends ago.

It was a really fascinating experience and with the cameras everywhere and big screens showing close-up shots of extractions and milk pouring it was just like the world champ videos I’ve seen online. I think at the Wellington heats we were the only coffee drinkers/customers there – most seemed to be other baristas and people from the coffee trade – felt quite special! Unfortunately now The Mister thinks he knows everything about how milk should be poured to form symmetry on top of the espresso so I’ve been getting ‘advice’ every morning for the last couple of weeks on how I could improve my milk – what!?

A couple of pics from the Wellington champs (at the Supreme roastery):

Nick from Memphis Belle who won the Wellington competition

Barista champs Wellington

Aidan from People’s Coffee being watched by the technical judges

Barista champs Wellington

Arui from Christchurch showing the tasting judges the coconut she was going to heat up to enhance this flavour in her coffee

Barista champs Christchurch heats

And some from the NZ champs yesterday (at the Mojo roastery):

Aymon’s every move being recorded

NZ Barista Champs in Wellington

Massimo constructing his signature drink

NZ Barista Champs in Wellington

And the winner Winner Hideyuki from Christchurch being mobbed by the paparazzi for an interview!

NZ Barista Champs in Wellington

Heaps more photos here on Flickr.


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