Barista Competition Gives Christchurch Coffee Makers the Chance to Shine

( Two Christchurch baristas will go head to head with three other national finalists for a place in a trans-Tasman barista competition final, to be held in Melbourne next month.

Samantha Bodman, from Bush Inn Muffin Break, and Evelyn Tait, from Northlands Muffin Break, have battled 35 other baristas from across New Zealand to make it to the final five, and now they both hope to travel to the Bean Alliance in Melbourne for the final.

The annual trans-Tasman competition sees Muffin Break baristas from New Zealand and Australia compete in regional competitions, where they are judged on quality and excellence in coffee preparation service.

Bodman says she has been working one day a week at Muffin Break for six years now and loves making a great cup of coffee for her customers.

“I love seeing the enjoyment they get from the cup of coffee – that’s the highlight for me,” says Bodman.
During the regional competitions entrants were each given 6 minutes to prepare an espresso, cappuccino, latte and a signature coffee, all under the watchful eye of expert judges.

But competitors were judged on more than just how their finished coffee looked and tasted. The judging criteria included preparation of their machinery and workstation, the technical skills of a barista, the sensory evaluation of coffee and their knowledge of the popular brew.

Tait says her three key steps to making the perfect coffee are creating a good crema, stretching the milk properly to get the perfect amount of froth, and always wearing a smile.

“What I enjoy most about being a barista is making sure all my customers receive top quality coffee, every time,” says Tait.

Bodman says the most important part of making a good coffee is getting the grind right so the coffee extraction is perfect.

In addition, their passion for customer service also contributed to their final score, which was determined by the judges. Master Roaster and Foodco Coffee Guru, Fred Vains will judge the semis and finals.

Tait says that in order to be a good barista you have to be willing to put in a lot of practice.

“You have to be passionate about making great coffee as well as being able to learn quickly,” says Tait.

The Muffin Break Barista Champion will travel to the Bean Alliance in Melbourne for the final. The overall winner will receive an iPad, a coffee machine and grinder for home as well as a $1000 Visa Gift Card. The 2012 Champion will be invited to participate in the Melbourne International Coffee Expo (all expenses paid) to be held over the 4th, 5th and 6th May.

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Media Release 7 March 2012.