The Chocolate and Coffee Show – Barista Zone – Hoony Chae

We interview Hoony Chae of Mojo who presented in the Barista Zone at the Chocolate and Coffee Show over 7-8 October 2018. Massive thanks to Kim Boyd, Latte Art Judge and Emma Markland Webster for pulling everything together with our amazing sponsors.
Tell us which competitions you’ve competed in during the last three years:
I have competed in 2017 Meadow Fresh New Zealand Latte Art Championship, which was my first national competition. Fortunately, I came in third place. Also, I’ve competed in this year’s 2018 Meadow Fresh New Zealand Latte Art Championship and was placed fourth. I’ve also participated in 2018 Almighty Latte art Throwdown in Hamilton, Grey St Kitchen (placed runner-up), and in 2018 Atomic Throwdown in Hamilton (also was a runner-up).
What is your earliest coffee related experience?
I had the chance to work in Ediya Coffee Lab in South Korea, they roast retail beans and do quality control of coffee beans. I was packaging retail bags and learning all different brewing methods. Ediya coffee is a huge franchise and there are more than 2000 stores in South Korea.
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
I love sports. I used to play baseball from the age of nine till 12 years old.  However, I stopped playing once my family decided to immigrate to NewZealand in 2005.
When did you first get working in coffee?
I would say my first proper job in coffee was Mojo Coffee in May 2015. Also, I worked at Esquires coffee in Metropolis Auckland CBD for a year while I was studying in AUT.
What led you to become a barista/role you’re in now?
I am a coffee lover; I don’t think I could not live without coffee. I think coffee is very different and special,  there is no end to studying coffee. I love challenging myself and chasing my dream. My dream is to become the CEO of a coffee brand.
What is the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is to make coffee for people. Also, I really like the speed and workflow at the cafe. I used to work in a busy cafe for about two years – the average amount of coffee that I made was about 500 cups.
Talk us through a typical work day
I am a manager at Mojo Cafe on Queen Street, Auckland CBD. My typical workday consists of adjusting the coffee machine, brewing out the espressos and making delicious coffee for the customers.
What is your favourite brew method and/or coffee origin and why?
My favourite brew method is V60 Hario, and this method is one of the most common brew methods. Ethiopia is my fav coffee bean origin. Most Ethiopian beans have floral notes and a bit of acidity that turns out clean with the Hario V60 method.
Can you remember pouring your first latte art?
Of course, I remember my first pour, there was nothing on the surface of the latte. My steamed milk was terrible, rough and bubbly.
What is your favourite thing to pour?
The rose and variations of it. The rose is less popular here in New Zealand but I really love it.
Who or what is your favourite Instagram latte artist to follow?
@baristaaaronshin, @oneway_dash, and oneway_elly
What are your interests outside of coffee?
Love sports, such as baseball, table tennis and badminton
Where do you see yourself in five years?
My goal is to be a latte art champion in New Zealand and experience the world latte art competition. I also see myself as a cafe owner and an owner of a coffee franchise in the future.
What would be your dream ‘coffee experience’?
My dream ‘coffee experience’ is to work in specialty cafes in Melbourne and share the experience of working with legendary baristas.
Do you have a ‘coffee crush’?
Yes, I really like flat whites.
Photo credits Daehee Park (@maydaehee)