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Top Coffee Baristas Prepare for Battle

14 March 2014

Top Coffee Baristas Prepare for Battle

Three of the country’s top coffee baristas are getting set for the Huhtamaki New Zealand Barista Championship about to be held in Wellington.

Auckland based Alla Heta and Greg Phillips are perfecting their routines under the watchful eye of former NZ champion Aymon McQuade. Aymon won the competition two years ago and travelled to the World Barista Competition in Vienna to compete against the best in the world.

Alla Heta – a Russian born New Zealander who’s passion for coffee is second to none, and Greg Phillips – a self-confessed coffee geek must each perform a 15-minute routine making 4 espressos, 4 cappuccinos and 4 signature drinks which are marked by a meticulous judging panel. They must also explain the unique characteristics of their coffee, where it was sourced from and why they chose it.

Alla competed at the New Zealand Barista Championship for the first time last year and came 5th, and now she’s back again to contest the title. Greg Phillips - her colleague, but in this competition her opponent - is a second generation coffee barista with over 17 years’ experience.

Selecting top quality specialty coffee beans is a crucial component of their routines and careful consideration goes into the farm and region their coffee is selected from – both preferring farms with a sustainability focus.

“To compete at this standard takes a huge amount of preparation, time and dedication. At Gravity we have a real focus on sustainable sourcing and we’ve developed a programme where we literally ‘Walk with the Grower’ we source our coffee from. Our brew team have visited the farms and we have personal relationships with the farmers and that means a lot to us.” said Alla Heta, Gravity Coffee Barista Trainer.

“It not only provides us with top quality coffee, but it also has massive benefits for those farms and their local communities enabling them to run charity programmes to benefit their communities,” said Greg Phillips, Sales Rep Gravity Coffee.

“Millions of Kiwi’s drink coffee and New Zealand punches well above its weight in the coffee stakes. The NZ Barista Championship is a high energy competition where a mastery of technical skills, craftsmanship, communication and service skills come together to produce New Zealand’s top barista. The winner goes on to compete at the World Barista Championship which will be held in Italy this year in June so the stakes are high.” said Aymon McQuade.

The annual New Zealand Barista Championship will be held in Wellington on March 21 – 23.


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