New Zealand Barista Championship Winner
Every year the New Zealand Speciality Coffee Association hosts the New Zealand Barista Championships. It's a competition for professional baristas, the winner is then flown to the World Barista Championships to represent Aotearoa.
This weekend just gone, Te Whanganui-a-Tara hosted the NZBC and Wellington local, Honoka Kawashima from Franks coffee in Newtown won! Acme Cups owner, Megan was lucky enough to taste her coffee after the final and wow, incredible.
Now, you might be thinking, what are the Barista championships? Well, there's some great vids you can watch on Youtube of World competitors, competing in previous years. But to give you a very basic summery; the competitor has 15 mins to present the 4 sensory judges (I'll explain that shortly) an espresso each, a milk based drink each and a final drink, the Signature drink that shows that they understand their coffee. The route that they perform is based around a theme, Honokas routine was all about making speciality more relatable to her customers.
Judges: 4 sensory judges sit at the bench and the competitor performs their routine to them. 2 technical judges, they float about making notes about things that the competitor does. Things like, keeping things tidy, if they spill any ground coffee, how long the espresso pours for, ya know, technical stuff. There's also a couple shadow judges that make notes and write down all the important details that the competitor says so the sensory judges can focus on tasting and listening to the route. And finally a head judge. They're responsible for all the other judges, they will taste each sensory judges coffees so that if one of the sensory judges makes a note about something maybe strange in their coffee the head judge can add notes and back them up. They also make sure all the judges notes are correct and are articulated + their notes back up their scores.
Each competitor competes once during the heats and then if they make it through to the finals they perform their route again. At Worlds they would do it 3 times as there's a semi final.
We run our comps a year in advance - so the 2022 champion Hanna Taramoto is competing in Athens, Greece in June at the World of Coffee show. It hasn't been announced yet as to where Honoka will be competing. Acme Cups owner, Megan will be attending so make sure you're following along on socials so you don't catch a case of FOMO.
We love Baristas, they're the best. Baristas are the face of the coffee industry, the last link in the chain between the consumer and the process. Being a professional Barista is something that we often choose to do as we love coffee and cafe life - Baristas are the unofficial face of coffee industry so lets give them platforms so they can grow in their chosen roles and further their career.
If you pop into Franks Coffee in Newtown and you see Honoka on the machine or floating about, make sure you wish her a big congratulations!
Wanna serve your coffee like a champ - not that you need much help of course, but if you did, we have created a collection of all the cups that were used by the competitors.
SHOW ME THE COLLECTION! please
Photos by ATPhoto