The coffee world is buzzing in competition mode with National and International Coffee Championships in full swing around the globe. The New Zealand Coffee Championships were held last month in Wellington’s Shed 6, hosted by The New Zealand Specialty Coffee Association. The Championship brings together four competitions; Latte Art, Brewers Cup, Cup Tasters and the Barista Championship across the 4 days to find the best in New Zealand.
We entered three of our best baristas into the Latte Art Championship and in a clean sweep took out first, second and third places. Wayner Stalen took an impressive third in his first major competition, second was Louise Chapman of L’Oeuf, and the biggest trophy went to the formidable Sam Low.
Sam is no newbie to competitions, as a previous winner of the NZ Latte Art Championship title, he gained a 6th place in the World Latte Art Championship in Milan, 2012. In this year’s competition he wowed judges with his innovative and unique designs carried out spectacularly. Sam will now go on to represent New Zealand at the 2015 World Latte Art Championship in Sweden on the 16th – 18th of June.
Sam also competed in the New Zealand Barista Championship and took a unconventional, light-hearted approach to his performance, taking the pretentiousness out of the specialty field. Sam re-named his coffee ‘Tammy’ a lively young lady who loves Taylor Swift and a good party and broke her life down into stages instead of fact-laden routines typical of Barista Champs. Tammy was presented as a cappuccino (infancy), espresso (the difficult teenage years), and a signature beverage (a coming of age at 21 years old). In the signature beverage made with Orange Bitter solution and Black Tea from Tammy’s origin – Kenya she became a complex and citrus dominant Single Origin, which Sam went to great lengths to source, roast, and present. The performance earned Sam runner-up in the competition with Addison Dale taking out the first place title taking him to Seattle for the World Championship.
Atomic Coffee Roasters are already back to the grind, with planning for next years competition underway including Sam’s attendance at the World Champs to work on taking out the title in 2016.
Photo credit Michael CY Park.