Now what a night we had!! The 2023 New Zealand Championship took place over the weekend and with that came a newly crowned champion: Akio Teramoto! Akio will represent New Zealand at the World finale in Melbourne on December 2nd.
Fun fact about Akio: he's not a coffee professional! His day job is in medical engineering, although being the husband of the 2022 NZ Barista Champion would force anyone to enjoy the complexities of coffee..
To earn the top spot, Akio had to battle it out with another 26 eager competitors, among which no less than three previous AeroPress Champions. Akio himself had already won that title in 2020, however Covid-19 prevented him from representing the country in the World finale.
Taking the second place this year, L'Affare's Head Roaster Adam Kyne-Lilley, with an unconventional (and thrill-inducing) pressing technique.
Rounding up the podium is Wataru Mizuguchi from Ozone Coffee Roasters - a first-time competitor whose communicative enthusiasm was the real highlight of the evening.
All competitors were tasked with creating a brew recipe using an AeroPress brewing device, and the same coffee: a Brazilian single origin from farmer Alex Sandro, sourced by our friends Yellow Rooster and roasted by our Head Roaster August Hislop (get yours here!). Judges then blind tasted their cups and picked their favourite, sending the lucky competitor on to the next round.
We were lucky to have a super skilled line up of judges this year, whose palates were suprisingly well calibrated! Thanks to Michael Stevens (Ozone Coffee Roasters), Megan Wyper (ACME), Ewan Kim (2022 NZ Cup Tasters Champion). Jaye Sanders (Firsthand Coffee Roasters), Hannah Hopcroft (Yellow Rooster), Nicholas Hollier (JDE Peet's), Dan Lacey (Boring) and our very own Head Roaster August Hislop and Coffee Specialist Masako Yamamoto.
After a bit (a lot!!) of rain, the skies cleared out so spectators could gather up to the sweet tunes of Matthew Crawleys record collection, grab a pizza fritta from Passa Passa and sip on a canned Margarita from Alba, a pilsner from Urbanaut or keep it sober with one of AF's mocktails.
We want to extend a big thank you to our sponsors, who helped us put together this event: sustainable packaging leaders Decent Packaging, NZ-made oat milk pioneers Boring, NZ crockery powerhouse ACME, beloved green coffee importers Yellow Rooster, and NZ dairy leader Meadow Fresh.