Porirua baris­tas are a smooth team

Kapi-Mana News - - WHAT’S ON - KRIS DANDO

They’re the per­fect team for mak­ing the per­fect cof­fee.

Alice Cun­ning­ham and Danielle Harlen re­cently took out the New Zealand sec­tion of the Muf­fin Break Barista Com­pe­ti­tion.

They head to Syd­ney this week to fly the flag against the best of the Aus­tralian Muf­fin Break baris­tas.

In a new twist this year, com­peti­tors had to work in pairs, rather than in­di­vid­u­ally, to make three lat­tes in three min­utes.

The judg­ing took place at their own premises, rather than at an event in Auck­land.

The judge awarded points for team­work, pre­ci­sion tim­ing in each step of the cof­fee-mak­ing process, fin­ished de­sign, and taste.

The baris­tas also had to cre­ate three de­signs – a rosetta, a tulip, and a heart – in the cof­fee by pour­ing the steamed milk in a dif­fer­ent way for each latte.

Cun­ning­ham, who works at Muf­fin Break part-time, said she and Harlen pre­pared metic­u­lously for the big day, about six weeks ago, in­clud­ing prac­tis­ing in their own time at the out­let in North City Shop­ping Cen­tre.

‘‘We knew that ev­ery sin­gle ac­tion would be watched,’’ she said. ‘‘I was ner­vous be­fore we started, but ev­ery­thing fell into place.’’

Dur­ing the three min­utes, Cun­ning­ham worked the grinder and pre­pared the shot, while Harlen sorted the milk and poured.

Harlen, the cafe’s as­sis­tant man­ager, said they thought they had not made the cut when man­ager Shane Pierce didn’t ring them the day the win­ners were an­nounced.

‘‘I was dis­ap­pointed be­cause we’d worked so hard, but then Shane rang me a lot later in the day,’’ she said.

‘‘I was rapt, but then I re­alised we’d be rep­re­sent­ing all the New Zealand Muf­fin Break stores, so no pres­sure or any­thing.’’

Cun­ning­ham said it was a shock to learn she was off to Syd­ney.

Pierce him­self won the New Zealand sec­tion of the com­pe­ti­tion in 2014 and 2015, and took out the Aus­tralasian crown last year.

His ex­pe­ri­ence and men­tor­ing was cru­cial to them mak­ing the per­fect cof­fee, Harlen said.

She had worked at the cafe eight years and wanted to em­brace the op­por­tu­nity to rep­re­sent New Zealand, and Porirua, in Australia.

En­trants are also judged on per­son­al­ity and wastage in Syd­ney.

PHOTO: KRIS DANDO

Alice Cun­ning­ham, left, and Danielle Harlen, know how to make a great cof­fee.

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