NZ Latte Art Champ 2012

Congratulations to Gerry Zhang who won the inaugural NZ Latte Art Championship on Monday 20 August. Gerry will represent NZ in November at the World Latte Art Championship. Our thanks to Meadow Fresh for their wonderful support and to the Restaurant and Bar Show for being the host venue.
Find out more about Gerry, our newest Champ, right here:
What is your earliest coffee related experience?
Instant coffee! Back in China the culture revolves around instant coffee, tea is more dominant. Now espresso is becoming more popular but back in the day Instant was the coffee of choice.
When / why did you first get working in coffee?
I went to coffee school because I was interested in coffee and my instructor introduced me to latte art. I was so surprise that milk and coffee can create such beautiful art.
What led you to becoming a barista?
Latte art was the main convincer, I wanted to learn how to do it.
What is the best part of your job?
I can practice as much as like – my café fully supports me! It’s a really nice place, a great environment to work in.
Talk us through a typical work day
I wake up and have breakfast at 5:30am every morning, I usually eat cornflakes, easy and simple ☺. I start work at 6am, do my daily preparation and taste the coffee. Customers start coming in and it get’s busy!! I finish at 2:30pm and then go play with my baby girl, Zi Qing, she is 9 months old. Then I hang out with my family, we keep it pretty chilled at night times, later on I try to do some coffee research.
What are your roles outside of making coffee?
I’m also a waiter and take care of stock control but making coffee keeps me pretty busy!!
What does it mean to you to win the first NZ Latte Art Championship?
Means a lot, I’ve always practices my latte art so I’m pretty happy. It now gives me a chance to take it to the next level at the worlds!
What do you hope to learn from your trip to the World Latte Art Championship in Seoul, Korea?
I want to meet more baristas from around the world, I know there are some amazing ones out there, very creative and I can’t wait to meet them and learn from them.
What is your favourite brew method and/or coffee origin and why?
Espresso, We use a blend from Altezano, I really enjoy this blend.
Tulip or rosetta?
Rosetta – I’ve always liked it more due to the detail involved.
What would be your dream ‘coffee experience’?
I want to meet the current world latte art champion and learn some new tricks from him.
Thank you to Ben from Colombus coffee and to Emma Markland Webster for teaching me the technical side of things. A huge thank you to my lovely wife and daughter, couldn’t have done it with out them and last but not least my café,Box Café, you guys are the best!