New Zealand Specialty Coffee Guild commits to community

The NZSCA welcomes new talent, new members, and new ways to keep members engaged and informed.
New Zealand Specialty Coffee Association

The New Zealand Specialty Coffee Guild (NZSCG) has concentrated on building community, education, and expanding the committee by adding new members and holding fun, exciting events around the country. 

With Sam Low leaving the fold to venture to Canada on the great Kiwi tradition of the “overseas experience”, we opted to add an additional three new Guild committee members into our team. 

Emma McDougall is the Communications and Administration Co-ordinator of the NZSCA.

The NZSCG welcomes Sarah Stephen from Mojo Coffee Cartel in Wellington, Andrew Feldon of Mouthwater Coffee in Palmerston North, and Dan Webster of 3rd Wave Coffee App in Hamilton.

Sarah Stephen, Coffee Specialist and Manager of The Beanery by Mojo in Wellington, hosted an interactive workshop on 17 October that attracted a cross section of coffee professionals and home enthusiasts. Mystery potions represented the sugars, fruits, chocolates, and nuts present within the coffee extraction soluble compound range. If you thought that sentence was a mouthful, you should have tried the tobacco or cereal water potion.

Through a mini information session, guests were introduced to flavours created at different stages of extraction. Attendees then had a chance to identify smells and flavours in the mystery concoctions. Fudge and fruit tea were definite favourites along with identifying and trying dark chocolate. To conclude the evening, a freshly brewed coffee was dissected into three components allowing participants to guess and taste the correlation between the extraction process and flavours in the cup.

October saw the NZSCG host an educational event about the effect minerals in our brewing water have on the extraction of coffee. Company member, Toasted Espresso in Wairau Park on the North Shore, was the perfect venue for this type of get together.

NZSCG Chair Nico Refiti says two coffees were brewed with three different waters: soft, medium, and hard. A group forum was held about the differences in flavour, intensity, and preferences that everyone had. Each of these waters were made from scratch using deionised water as a base and adding magnesium sulphate and sodium bicarbonate in different quantities. 

For this workshop all coffees were brewed using the same brew recipe and grind size and on the same batch brewer. By keeping as many variables stable as possible, the aim was to determine how much the minerals in the water affect our extractions. 

From the tasting, the general consensus was that all the three waters showed different levels of acidity, flavour, and body. Interestingly, there was no consensus on which was preferred. Nico says there were votes for soft, medium, and hard water for both coffees. He also found that some people changed their favourite across the two coffees. The level of extraction in each of our brews was then measured, and a consistent increase in extraction as the total dissolved solids of the water increased was found.

“We concluded from the event that our make-up of our water will have a significant effect on our coffee brewing. However, our individual preferences in flavour and balance meant we were unable to narrow down a suggested water,” Nico says. “This was very much a first step in understanding how much of an effect our water has and we will continue to explore how we can use this in our quest for better coffee.”

Both events sold out. A big thanks goes to our venue hosts and attendees.

With additional members on the team, Nico has inspired each committee member to create a personal project. As such, plans are in place for future throwdowns, tastings, and a good old-fashioned get together.

To join the Guild, look up NZSCA on Eventbrite. Members receive a range of benefits including a certificate and discounts on events.

The NZSCG look forward to hosting these events and to seeing you at the Meadow Fresh New Zealand Barista Championship on 2 and 3 February 2019 at Expressions Whirinaki in Upper Hutt.