Taka Koyanagi is the New Zealand Huhtamaki Cup Taster’s Champion for 2016.
The New Zealand Specialty Coffee Association (NZSCA) hosted the Cup Tasters and Brewers Cup Championship from 11 – 12 March in the last of its coffee competitions for 2016.
“I didn’t expect to win for the first time competing,” Taka told NZSCA. “I was very surprised by myself and the result. I thought this competition was easy, but it’s much, much more difficult that I expected, as the first round showed only five of eight [cups] were correct.”
This year’s championship had 17 entrants. Matt Greenwood was runner up, and Philippa Swale was third, both from Bell Tea and Coffee.
In the first round of heats Taka, a Brew Bar Manager at Toasted Espresso, completed the flight of coffee in four minutes and 14 seconds. In the finals, he took his time making his decisions and was the last competitor to finish. But it paid off. He scored seven out of eight cups correctly in five minutes and 46 minutes.
Taka’s strategy going into the finals was to sip the coffee as long as he could before tasting the next one. He also made sure he never mixed one coffee with another, washing his spoon continuously.
Taka will now compete in the World Cup Tasters Championship in Shanghai, China from 29 March – 1 April.
In the 2016 NZ Brewers Cup Championship, Ria Lingad of Cerebos Gregg’s won the title. BK Kang of Red Rabbit Coffee was runner up, and Diane Wang placed third.
Ria used a wild Panaman Geisha called Colubre from Finca Nuguo, put through a Yasukiyo dripper. Ria lowered her water temperature to 98°C in order to preserve the fruit acids of her drink.
She brewed the coffee via immersion for five minutes, then used a V60 filter and haltered the brewing process at two and a half minutes in order to maximise the flavour of her coffee.
As well as winning a trip to Dublin, Ireland to compete in the World Brewers Cup Championship from 23 – 25 June, Ria took home a Vario home grinder thanks to AMC Roastery Supply NZ. The top three finalists also received $500 worth of Hario brew gear thanks to NZSCA.
“This years competition was our most successful yet, both on terms of the number of competitors, spectators in support and certainly the level of competition,” NZSCA Executive Director Aymon McQuade said. “The amount of careful consideration, research, trialling and practice, which went into each presentation was truly remarkable.”
AMC Roastery Supply NZ, Cafetto, Marco, and ACME&Co were sponsors of this year’s event.
For more information visit nzcra.org.nz
Image credit: Nick Kean