Always wondered who makes the absolute best coffee? Aucklander John Gordon of Gorilla Gear beat eight other baristas to claim the mantle of Meadow Fresh New Zealand Barista Champion 2018 in Wellington this weekend.
Nine baristas from Wanaka to Whangarei battled it out, with John Gordon winning the title. Nico Refiti of Ozone Coffee Roasters in New Plymouth advanced to runner up with a polished performance after four years competing. Wellington favourite, Frank Hsu of Franks placed third for the second year running.
As Meadow Fresh New Zealand Barista Champion 2018 John Gordon won flights and accommodation to represent New Zealand at the World Barista Championship in Amsterdam from 20 to 23 June. This will be the fourth-time Gordon has competed at the World Championship. Before moving to Auckland in 2014 and establishing Gorilla Gear, John Gordon represented the UK in the World Championships three times: in 2010 he placed 14th, in 2013 he placed tenth and he placed a career high of sixth in the world in 2011.
John Gordon roasted his own competition coffee which he described as “the most stressful thing ever.” Special roasting processes maximised flavours in his beverages including; kiwifruit, raspberry and lime in the espresso, custard and raspberry in his milk-based beverage with his signature creation including a nashi pear nectar.
New Zealand’s best baristas presented four espressos, four milk-based beverages, and four signature drinks to the professional judges for assessment over an exciting two days of competition.
Baristas have a further two opportunities to compete to represent New Zealand this year. The New Zealand Cup Tasters Championship, a challenge distinguishing taste differences in specialty coffee, will be held in Auckland on Friday 27 July, with the winner to represent the country at the World Tasting Championship in Dubai in September. The Meadow Fresh Latte Art championship is in Auckland on Sunday 29 July and the winner will represent the country at the World Latte Art Championship in Brazil in November.