Regional Competitors ’24

Please see updates here for all listed competitors in our Regional events and a little bit about them and why they want to compete. Respect.

Auckland competitors:

Jisi Li, Coffee 366 Limited, Auckland

Jisi is a first-time competitor currently making around 200 coffees a day.

Bio: (Jisi’s words): I’m competing so I can increase my experience in making coffee.

Yunyi Chen, Coffee 366 Limited, Auckland

Yunyi is a first-time competitor who has been making coffee for a year.

Bio: (Yunyi’s words): I hope to get more knowledge about making coffee.

Bill Zheng, Independent, Auckland

I don’t think we’re allowed favourites, but Bill always has a smile and gives it 150%.  He’s been making coffee for five years and has even judged latte art.

Bio: (Bills’s words): To be honest, maybe I will be the champion, so why not give it a try?

Vanessa Chan, Society Coffee roasters/Mowai Espresso, Auckland

Another new competitor, Vanessa is keen to get a taste of competition.

Bio: (Vanessa’s words): Recent owner of a small espresso bar called Mowai Espresso, I want to compete because I think it’ll be a good opportunity to put myself out of my comfort zone and become a better barista.

Ly Heang Phe (Lee), 2Sib Espresso Bar, Auckland 

How cute is the 2Sib story?  We love any barista with a story and are proud that Lee has put his portafilter forward to compete!

Bio: (Lee’s words): My name is Lee and I have been making coffee since I was 16, my coffee journey started when I was working in our family bakery. My perspective changed when I tried a single-origin Ethiopian Guji espresso at Kōkako Commercial Bay. This coffee was so unique and interesting that it inspired me to start learning more. I want to enter the barista championships so I can push myself to learn more about coffee and understand the true value of this product. It’s important to make sure that I respect coffee, and never take a cup for granted. So, I am excited to build my knowledge and interact with other baristas in the coffee community!
Bri Cossey, Flight Coffee, Auckland

We welcome any first-time competitor to the competition – that’s what it’s all about. Bri brings a great reason to compete:

Bio: (Bri’s words): My name is Bri and I have dedicated my professional life to hospitality. I’m a trained chef but coffee has always been my passion. My barista apprenticeship started at Third Wheel Coffee co in Paihia Bay of Islands in 2019. Since then I’ve worked as a barista and as a teacher teaching coffee at QRC (Queenstown Resort College) I want to compete to take my skillset to the next level and learn from the best in the business. Although I have no experience competing I would love to take this experience and help bring other baristas in Paihia to the competition level.

YuanYuan Chen, Society Coffee, Auckland

YuanYuan has been a fabulous volunteer and Cup Taster competitor over the years. She’s owned cafes, so know’s a thing or two and we’re keen to see her compete in this discipline.

Bio: (Yuan Yuan words): YuanYuan here, I have been a barista for four years. I have three boys and enjoy both drinking and making coffee. In 2024, I want to challenge myself by participating in a competition. I believe this experience will help me learn and improve my skills.

Eddie Chae, Stroll Coffee, Auckland

We’ve seen Eddie on both sides of the bench and we love the enthusiasm he brings to the competition.

Bio: (Eddie’s words) I’ve been in the industry for a while now, always passionate about making, serving, and drinking coffee.  I wanted to challenge myself again to compete.

Isaac Jones, Sentinel Cafe, Hamilton

Isaac’s been making coffee for three years and has competed before in NZ Aeropress Champs in 2021.

Bio (words from Isaac): I have come to love specialty coffee through home brewing. Once I got my first job at Grey St Kitchen with Dove, I was able to expand my skillset there. I’ve worked at my current cafe as a Barista for over 2 years now and have learned a bunch there. I’d love to compete to push myself further in what I know and can do, to try out some new skills and ideas I’ve picked up over the years, and to further explore the relationship between coffee and our experience of it. That part is one of my favourite aspects of being a Barista, seeing people realise how much more coffee can be than just their normal order. I’m hoping to be able to have time to see the impact the coffee I choose has on that aspect of hospitality.

Hanna Teramoto, Coffee Tech, Auckland

Hanna is no stranger to the barista competition scene and has been making coffee for 16 years, she was a previous two-time champion in 2014, 2022, and in 2013, 2016, and 2021 – runner up.

Bio (words from Hanna): Hi I’m Hanna. I am the General Manager at Coffee Tech and I very much miss working behind the machine regularly. I want to compete because this time, I want to win the nationals to do better in the world.

Jenna Phillips, Sacred Grounds, Taupo

Jenna has been making coffee for some time now with her family’s coffee roasting business in Taupo, she also placed fourth in the NZ Barista Championship 2023 and earned the place of 2023 People’s Champion.

Bio (words from Jenna): I want to compete again to ready myself for nationals and hopefully place higher, and also hanging out in the industry is pretty cool too 🙂

Tom Dixon, Zephyr Coffee Co, Auckland

Tom has been making coffee for 12 years and is new to the competitive scene.

Bio (words from Tom): I’ve always been interested in coffee since being shown as a teenager by a family friend. Since then I have worked across the coffee sector in several roles both in the UK and here in NZ. After gaining experience with some local roasters in Tauranga the opportunity to move into a role with ACR came up. The main driver for me to compete this year is to get out of my comfort zone and give me hands-on experience at a competition level I can pass on to baristas I engage with and train daily.

Wayne Burrows, Zephyr Coffee Co, Auckland

Wayne has been making coffee for 18 years. He competed in several championships between 2007-2014 and claimed the title of African Barista Champion in 2010.

Bio (words from Wayne): I have always been passionate about giving coffee its own identity and voice through the expression roasted into it. Competitions, for me, whether competing, judging or coaching has always been the perfect opportunity to show off these expressions and techniques to other coffee-passionate people.

Agnese Sokolovska, Eighthirty, Auckland

Agnese has been making coffee for around 10 years now and has competed in competitions before but not WBC-type formats, she’s a London Coffee Master Champion! She says that this was just luck, we are sure there’s more to it than that.

Bio (words from Agnese) I’ve been dealing with coffee beans for almost 10 years now, starting in a hospitality class at Rotorua Girls High School. Later on, coffee took me around the world, not only as a barista but also as a green buyer, etc. Now I’ve just returned to NZ and work at Eighthirty as a QC and sales account manager. This lets me be more involved with customers and passionate coffee people as well as give training and keep making coffee! I want to compete because I want to showcase the coffee I have chosen for the competition. I am extremely passionate about the producers of the coffee as I lived with them in Colombia for a good while.

Christchurch competitors:

 

Fangfang Shi, Cafe Terry’s, Christchurch

Fangfang has been making coffee for around four years, though never competing before Fangfang keeps busy making 500 coffees a day.

Bio (words from Fangfang): The purpose for me to join the barista competition is to give my self-motivation and keep up my coffee skills.

Joeyn Tan, C4 Coffee Co, Christchurch

Joeyn has been making coffee for around a year and a half and has never entered or competed before in a Barista competition.

Bio (words from Joen): At 29, I’ve pivoted from a finance-focused career to follow my heart’s calling: the art of crafting coffee. Having spent my entire professional life in office jobs, the past year has been a transformative chapter. Discovering the world of coffee has ignited a newfound passion, making me feel like my life has truly begun. I’m on a journey of continuous learning, improvement, and self-transcendence within the coffee industry. Embracing challenges through competition, I’m excited about the opportunities for growth and mastery that lie ahead.

Jordan Herbert, Ebb-Cafe, Dunedin

Jordan has been making coffee full-time for over three years this will be Jordan’s first championship event.

Bio (words from Jordan): Ever since I was 12 I have been drinking coffee and have always been attracted to the idea of making it. I decided at the end of high school to just follow my passion and within a year got a job as the head barista at Airspresso. I eventually moved onto Ebb-Cafe where I’ve been using Kōkakō specialty Coffee. It’s here that I feel I’ve found my calling and would love to be a part of the competition. I am very passionate about my work and love nothing more than making good coffees and would love to share that.

Tanner Hunt, Hummingbird Coffee Roasters, Christchurch

Tanner has been making coffee for three years now, and this like many others will be his first foray into competing.

Bio (words from Tanner): Growing up in the US, I never thought I would be able to have the career that I have now. Moving to New Zealand 4 years ago gave me the means and opportunity to learn about coffee and explore the industry. I’ve worked in busy cafes across the North Island before relocating to Ōtautahi to work as a coffee representative and barista trainer. Now that I have the opportunity, I’m ready to compete in my first barista competition representing Hummingbird Coffee!

Joshua Peacocke, Independent, Christchurch

Joshua is a hobbyist and lover of all things coffee and our coffee industry. Joshua has assisted in several of our championship events as a volunteer in the last few years and is now this year stepping up on stage to compete.

Bio (words from Joshua): Since founding Coffeesoc at the University of Canterbury, I realised that there are a lot of people out there that want to know more about coffee, even if they don’t know themselves. I want to influence more people to try a specialty and learn just a little bit about it. Getting to competing in Barista Champs is a good way to confirm my current knowledge, and improve my skills as a leader in my little corner of the specialty coffee world. Not to mention, I have so many wonderful people helping me out already.

Steven Hill, Prima Roastery, Christchurch

Steven has been in and around the industry for fifteen years, now only making 10 coffees a day, we are sure Steven knows a thing or two about a good cup of coffee, this will be Steven’s first year competing.

Bio (words from Steven): I’ve been working in coffee since I was legally able to work and I’ve never had a job that didn’t revolve around coffee. I’ve thought of competing in the past but never have. I believe these competitions are a great way to bring the industry together and challenge some of the ideas around what makes a good coffee and a great barista.

Jadon Steven, C4 Coffee, Christchurch

Jadon has had a portafilter in his hand behind a machine for seven years now, he makes an average of 250 a day, and this will be his first time competing in a coffee competition.

Bio (words from Jadon): I love coffee and want to get more into the specialty coffee world and would love to engage more with its community.

James Evison, Vivace Espresso, Christchurch

James has been in the industry for eighteen years, loves the industry, and is ready to give this competition game a crack.

Bio (words from James): Having worked in and around specialty coffee for the last 18 years, I have finally decided to give competing a crack! Life is about challenging yourself and if I can do that within the industry that I love then all the better. If I learn and become a better barista, and meet some like-minded people then this will be a very worthwhile experience.

Bonnie Lam, The Coffee Dojo, Wanaka

Bonnie has been making coffee for 19 years.  There must be something good in that because she looks so young.  We are looking forward to seeing the energy and new shoes she brings to the stage.

Bio (Bonnie’s words: The regionals are such a good way to keep me driving forward in my coffee career.

Wellington competitors:

 

Jay Marshall-Makaea, McDonald’s Parry Organisation, Rotorua

Jay has been making coffee for over three years, this will be Jay’s first competition in coffee making.

Bio (words from Jay): I am a 26-year-old male who has a lot of love for coffee and the art of making it. I’ve had this passion for a long time and was able to really start developing barista skills with my journey with McDonalds. I would like to compete to expand my threshold of cafe knowledge and to test myself against baristas outside of our organisation.

Paige Elliot, McDonald’s Fairy Springs, Rotorua

Paige has been making coffee for over two years and makes around 50 cups per day, this will be Paige’s first time competing.

Bio (words from Paige): I am an 18-year-old female who like most young adults, can’t live without a good cup of coffee. Since starting work at McDonalds, I have been able to express my love for coffee and fine-tune my skills to something with a huge sense of community that brings so many people together. Competing will not only escalate my knowledge within the cafe world but will also allow me to get inspired and hopefully inspire others through the art of making coffee.

Duv Monika, McDonald’s Fenton St, Rotorua

Duv has over five years of experience behind the coffee machine making around 100 coffees on a daily, this will be Duv’s first time stepping up to a competition stage.

Bio (words from Duv): Duv MONIKA My name is Duv, I’m 23 years old and I have been working at McDonald’s and making coffee since I was 18 years old, which is something I have really enjoyed. But I have only recently found the love for the art of coffee and producing good quality espresso. This year I want to challenge myself by trying new things and getting out of my comfort zone, never have I have imagined having the confidence to compete but through the help and support of my coach, I have never felt more inspired to want to do this, or feel I even have the capability of doing so. It’s an amazing thing seeing someone be so passionate about something and being able to encourage and motivate others to be the best barista possible through their knowledge and I’m excited to compete just to have the privilege of learning from them. Ngā mihi.

Eunyoung Lee, Albion Canteen Limited, Napier

Eunyoung has been at the machine for three years and this will be Eunyoung’s first time competing.

Bio (words from Eunyoung): Throughout my journey as a barista, my passion for coffee has grown huge. I am eager to expand my coffee knowledge and skills, aiming not only to coffee-making but also to share my love for coffee with others. Now, I can’t wait to elevate my coffee career to new heights. Also, this is an exciting opportunity to step onto the new stage of my career. I’d like to see my current stage and also connect with other coffee lovers. Join me on this exciting, I am ready to create unforgettable moments in my coffee journey.”

Eve Zhang, Ebony Coffee NZ Ltd, Palmerston North

Eve has been behind the machine for over three years and keeps busy making around 200-300 coffees a day, she’s volunteered at our events before and is now set to take to the stage to compete.

Bio (words from Eve): I am a keen barista seeking motivation to keep growing and learning more about coffee.

Jason Moore, Vanguard Specialty Coffee Co., Dunedin

Jason competed back when regionals were around the first time, and again last year.  We are always excited to see what coffee he brings to the table.

Bio (words from Jason): I am the owner of Vanguard Specialty Coffee Co. in Dunedin. As a company, we try to push the boundaries of specialty coffee in NZ. I believe in transparency in the value chain and have a vision of coffee producers, buyers, roasters and consumers all contributing to make real positive change for the future of coffee. Being an active participant in events like the NZBC helps to bring awareness to what we do, and allows me to network with other like-minded individuals and share what we do with a wider audience.

Hunter Chapman, Roastology Coffee Co., Wellington

Hunter is our youngest barista ever showing that age is no barrier to entry. He currently makes around 250 coffees a day

Bio (words from Hunter): I own a specialty coffee roastery called Roastology Coffee Co. which I founded late last year, I am a trained barista having gained my qualification through Excelso Coffee in Tauranga and I also worked there for roughly a year before recently moving to Wellington. I have been making coffee for roughly the last three years. I want to compete as I have a deep passion for all things coffee and I feel I could represent Wellington well on a national level should I get through.

Max Yuqi Cui, Mojo Coffee, Wellington

We saw Max at Latte Art in 2023 and love the energy that he brings to the stage.  He makes 400 coffees a day so making eight will be a breeze!

Bio (words from Max): I want to compete because I can meet more coffee lovers through the event, get inspired by them, and learn from them, meanwhile having something to push myself forward.

Tickets are now closed. Good luck to all our baristas!

 

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