'Coffee geek' takes NZ title

Christchurch’s Hideyuki Kono has ground his way to the top of New Zealand’s coffee culture.
Kono, who works for the Crafted Coffee Co, was named best barista at the Huhtamaki New Zealand Barista Championship in Wellington on Saturday night. He beat seven other finalists.
“[This] is like the Holy Grail for coffee geeks,” he said. “I’m so happy I finally won.
“As a barista and as someone who loves coffee, it’s like I’m achieving my dream.”
The judges were impressed with Kono’s enthusiasm and original approach to espresso making.
He will now travel to Bogota, Colombia, to represent New Zealand in the World Barista Championship in June.
National championship organiser Emma Markland-Webster said this year’s event was the toughest in more than 10 years.
“New Zealand’s baristas are now highly sought after overseas, but we’re yet to claim a World Barista Championship title.
“This could be the year we take on the world and win.”
Two Wellington baristas filled the remaining podium places on Saturday. Nick Clark, of Flight Coffee, was the runner-up, followed by Aymon McQuade, of Bell Tea and Coffee.