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