As another epic year begins, the NZSCA reflects on a successful 2019 and gets excited for what’s to come in 2020.
2019 was a big year for the New Zealand Specialty Coffee Association.
It kicked off in February, with a full field of competitors in the Meadow Fresh New Zealand Barista Championship. The venue, Expressions in Upper Hutt, once again created a magical theatrical atmosphere. Introducing cool cash prizes for the Best Newcomer, Best Milk Beverage, and running People’s Choice invigorated and encouraged a diverse range of entries.
The champion was Dove Chen, who also won in 2017. When asked about his journey, Dove said, “I learned the importance of finding a balanced taste in coffee, as well as the balance of training and resting to maximise productivity”.
Runner up was Heesun Christina Lee from Atomic Coffee Roasters. Ken Te from Society Coffee in Auckland came in third and took out the coveted Best Newcomer.
Team NZ then represented us well in Boston at the World Barista Championship in April. In a competition where there can be only one champion, it is often more about the learning and journey than returning home with a trophy.
One big weekend in May saw the NZSCA crown new Cup Tasters and Latte Art Champions in maxed-out competitions. On 3 May, Ozone Coffee Roasters in Auckland hosted a full field of 32 coffee cuppers, all aiming to accurately and quickly slurp their way through to the final round.
The winner, Alan Bruce of Flight Coffee Roasters, was no stranger to competing as a veteran of Barista and Brewers, though a first time Cup Taster. When asked if he had any tips, he mentioned he kept his food bland in the lead up, including no pesto for lunch and his “secret weapon”, his favourite orange spit cup.
Runner up was Anne-Lise Monard-Stott from Ripe Coffee Roasters in Petone, third place went to Ewan Kim of L’affare, and Takahito Koyanagi of Toasted Espresso in Auckland rounded out the finals.
On 5 May, La Marzocco was the perfect host of the Meadow Fresh Latte Art Championship. With interactive pouring competitions along with the skills of the milk wizards on stage, the art in the cup was next level.
Hoony Chae of Mojo Coffee was crowned champion, runner-up was Leo Li of Newbie Café, and third place went to John HoJun Sung of Grey Street Kitchen.
Hoony and Alan headed to Berlin in June. Alan’s fifth placing at the World Cup Tasters Championship was the icing on the cake, but their professionalism and eager attitudes off stage won the most praise.
The highlight of the year would be the Annual General Meeting, returning to Sherwood, Queenstown in May. There was reason to celebrate this year as the Lifetime Achievement award was handed out for only the third time. Ninety people from our eclectic industry celebrated as Chris Dillon from Coffee Supreme received the prestigious title.
In June, the New Zealand Specialty Coffee Guild created an ambitious program of 20 cupping events around the country. Armed with only a spoon, nearly 200 attendees put their tasting skills to the test by identifying origins. Held in cities from Auckland to Christchurch, this event was a highlight among others in the Guild.
Our education program continued to move forward, with Barista Level One taught in Auckland in October. Lined up for February 2020 is the almost sold out Instructor Level One training in Nelson.
Wrapping up a successful year, the NZSCA hosted a Christmas party with a difference in December. The Coffee and Good Spirits Throwdown became the vehicle to introduce this exciting competition to NZ competitors. Around 150 people enjoyed a stellar night at Atomic Coffee Roasters. Watch out for this event to move to other centres.
A special thanks to the volunteers at all our events. Above all, thanks to our members, sponsors, and supporters who make our community diverse, engaged, and continuously evolving for the betterment of all in coffee.
We look forward to an even better 2020.
This article appears in the February 2020 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE