Is­land flavour is a win­ner

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Jo­ce­lyn Rein

In­spi­ra­tion from the is­lands was a win­ning recipe for barista Faatafa Li­u­fau.

The man­ager at Queen St’s Mojo cafe won first place in the Auck­land Re­gion Barista Cham­pi­onships last Satur­day.

In­spired by a an old Samoan jam recipe, Mr Li­u­fau cre­ated a sig­na­ture cof­fee called Brown Eyed Girl from es­presso mixed with brown sugar, lime and co­conut cream syrup.

Con­tes­tants had 15 min­utes to make their four sig­na­ture cof­fees, four es­pres­sos, and four cap­pu­ci­nos.

De­spite some in­tense pres­sure, Mr Li­u­fau says the com­pe­ti­tion was a lot of fun.

Twenty-four top baris­tas from Auck­land, Hamil­ton, Cam­bridge, Mor­rinsville, Whi­tianga and Tau­ranga took part in the com­pe­ti­tion held at the All­press Roast­ery.

It was Mr Li­u­fau’s sec­ond time en­ter­ing the event, af­ter com­ing fourth in the na­tional fi­nals in 2006.

He will com­pete in the New Zealand Barista Cham­pi­onships fi­nal in Welling­ton in May.

The West­mere res­i­dent says when he first came to New Zealand from Samoa in 1997, he had only ever drunk in­stant cof­fee.

“I didn’t know any­thing about cof­fee. My girl­friend at the time took me to a cafe and I tried some of her cof­fee and thought it was hor­ri­ble.”

He be­came a kitchen hand in a Welling­ton cafe, even­tu­ally mov­ing on to mak­ing cof­fee.

And the 27-year-old says he has never looked back. “I re­ally thought I would get sick of it af­ter a while but I’m still go­ing.”

Mr Li­u­fau is now also part-owner and man­ager of Mojo cafe’s first Auck­land branch.

He drinks up to seven cups a day.

And the drink of choice for a top barista?

He says you still can’t go wrong with a sim­ple flat white.

New Zealand Cof­fee Roast­ers As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Chris Dil­lon was im­pressed with the stan­dard of the Auck­land com­peti­tors.

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

Win­ning blend: Faatafa Li­u­fau’s is­land in­ter­pre­ta­tion of es­presso won him first place in the Auck­land re­gional barista champs.

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