Our Barista Champions: Hide Kono 2011

As we move towards 2024 and the return of regional barista events we want to acknowledge and celebrate the past and the people that were part of the journey in New Zealand. We asked our past champions about their journey in coffee competitions in NZ to help inspire the competitive baristas and coffee community of 2024.

Where and when did you start in coffee? Coffee Culture Cashmere which was the busiest cafe in Christchurch in 2004.

When did you first start to compete? 2006

What did you learn along the way? To become a champion, you have to think and behave like a champion.

What was your motivation, what did you want to achieve? To be the first Asian “English student-turned-resident” Barista representative of New Zealand.

Most memorable experience as a champion, what did you get out of it? Initial instant fame was overwhelming but it helped me learn how to stay humble and handle it to my advantage.

Who helped you along the way? Too many to name. Anyone from Vivace, Addington Co-op, and Crafted Coffee Company. I owe you guys a lot. Thank you.

Where are you now? Enjoying the semi-retired Barista life, helping just 2 days a week at Qubed Coffee Lounge in Christchurch…Japanese owned, with the mature professional multi-national team serving our beautiful local customers. Also running a free Latte Art social class at the Japanese church as a personal project, which has been highly blessed with the number and quality of the attendees. Outside coffee, I have been working as a freelance translator since 2014. Life is good.