Am­s­ter­dam trip brew­ing for top barista

The Dominion Post - - News - ELEANOR WENMAN

The sound of hiss­ing steam wands and aroma of cof­fee filled the air as nine baris­tas bat­tled it out for the top national ti­tle.

The Mead­owfresh New Zealand Barista Cham­pi­onships were held in Up­per Hutt at the week­end and, after two days, Auck­lan­der John Gor­don was crowned best barista.

But it wasn’t un­til he hit his 20s that Gor­don said he had even had a ‘‘de­cent cof­fee’’.

‘‘I grew up on in­stant cof­fee from my grand­par­ents.’’

He spent years in the United King­dom, hon­ing his skills and com­pet­ing, then had a break of three or four years be­fore step­ping up to be judged again. ‘‘It was like do­ing it for the first time .’’

He roasted his own beans and pre­sented es­presso with notes of ki­wifruit and lime, a milky cof­fee with cus­tard and rasp­berry notes and a sig­na­ture drink with nashi pear nec­tar. His win­ning cof­fees earned him a place at the World Barista Cham­pi­onships in Am­s­ter­dam in June.

For the judges, tast­ing the cof­fees was a com­plex chal­lenge.

‘‘In the past, we thought taste was the same for ev­ery­one – bit­ter at the side of the tongue, sweet at the front. But now we know that’s not true,’’ judge Masako Ya­mamoto said.

‘‘It’s quite com­pli­cated to score on taste be­cause ev­ery­one tastes dif­fer­ently. If you were look­ing at colours, you might say it’s red and I would say it’s orange.’’

New Ply­mouth’s Nico Re­fiti, of Ozone Cof­fee Roast­ers, was the event’s run­ner-up, while Frank Hsu, of Franks in Wellington, placed third.

PHO­TOS: AN­DREW TURNER

A judge scru­ti­nises the cof­fee-mak­ing tech­nique of 2018 National Barista Cham­pion John Gor­don in Up­per Hutt last week­end.

Wellington en­trant Frank Hsu, right, placed third in the two-day com­pe­ti­tion.

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