Aymon at the World Barista Championship

Congratulations to Aymon McQuade, our Barista Champion, who competed at the World Barista Championship in Vienna on 15 June.
Despite a mishap which meant his knock box had to be retrieved from off stage during the crucial 15 minute performance time, Aymon narrowly missed a semi-final spot. Aymon placed 14th out of 54 nations.
Chatting to Aymon after the event, he is still upbeat and eager to compete again next year, the experience has sparked lots of ideas about what to bring to his next performance.
He was particularly happy with his choice of coffee and ability to dial it in at the event and on stage. The coffee was 100% Red Bourbon, fully-washed, grown at 1500 mtr on volcanic soil in the Ahuachapan region of El Salvador on Finca Monte Sion.
Anyone who attends one of the July/August NZ Roaster Guild Quaffing events will have the opportunity to try the coffee. Green samples have been forwarded to each of the host companies Jacks, Ozone, Peoples, Pomeroys and Crafted.
The cup is complex with bright juicy green apple acidity, a silky body and notes of candy fruit and toffee.
Did you enjoy your time in Vienna?
Yep, it was epic! A wonderful experience at the WBC…the only place in Vienna serving decent coffee. Thankfully the architecture in the city center made up for it, somewhat.
Did you feel prepared for what the competition would be like at the Worlds?
Honestly, yes completely. Well almost completely, until I got part way into my routine. You never really now what’s going to happen on the day. The one small hiccup I had…..I could have actually circumvented.
What was the most memorable thing that happened?
I will always remember looking at my prep table, seeing the biscuit solution for my sig drink, on the stove, and thinking ‘oh shit’ as I watched it burn, having forgotten to add water….
What was the best thing to come out of your experience in terms of professional development?
1)Having various chats to people and ramping up my coffee knowledge. 2)Networking, I enjoyed being an ambassador for NZ, outside of my routine, making people stand-up and take notice of what NZ is doing to pioneer specialty coffee.
What would you do differently next time?
Tiny tweaks to my practice routine. Keep things a bit simpler perhaps.
Has the experienced encouraged you to compete again?
You bet! #1 or bust.
The WBC is in Melbourne next year, do you have any feedback on how we might work towards getting a kiwi World Champion?
Nothing really beats experience. 2nd best is to talk to the people who have been to the WBC and competed in the past. Also, give yourself as much pressure as you can in terms of competition settings. Competing in the FHA in Singapore was pretty time consuming, but awesome for the experience, as was doing my run-through for the NZSCA AGM and the Melbourne International Coffee Expo. If nothing else, good practice from a logistics perspective.
If you are in a position to represent NZ at the WBC, remember that you have the support of the WHOLE of the NZ coffee industry. Ask for help, everyone will be only too willing.
And…don’t forget your knock-box.
You took some personal time around Europe – what was the coolest thing you did?
Blasting through Hyde Park in London, on Boris Bikes, with my brother and 4 mates, on a clear warm summer’s night, arriving at the bottom of Big Ben just as it began to strike 12 midnight.

The World Barista Championship will be much closer to home in 2013 – the Melbourne International Coffee Expo was successful in its bid for both World Barista and Brewer’s Cup Championships.