Wanaka brews some of the country’s finest baristas, and your vote could help one get adorned with the title of “New Zealand’s best”.
Wanaka’s Bonnie Lam is competing against 22 other finalists for the Meadow Fresh NZ Barista Championship 2019 People’s Choice award, and voting is live through Saturday.
Lam, who owns The Coffee Shack Wanaka, will be competing in the barista championship in Wellington’s Upper Hutt this weekend, hosted by New Zealand Speciality Coffee Association.
“I've been planning to go back into the NZ Barista Championship ever since I competed last year. The competition was so much fun and very humbling to stand on stage with some of New Zealand’s best baristas; it motivates you to learn and develop as a barista,” said Lam. “This year, I'm super excited to go back the second time now that I know what to expected. I also have Ozone [Coffee Roasters] backing me up and helping me train…”
Born in Hong Kong, Lam was raised in Auckland where she learned about the coffee trade and trained as a barista before moving to Wanaka to open her coffee shack in July 2017. “The main focus of the coffee shack is smashing out quick and delicious coffee,” said Lam. “We keep everything else pretty simple as it only accompanies the coffee; coffee is the main focus. So no heating or toasting; just quick and efficient service. Our standing current longest wait time is seven minutes; we mostly average at three minutes and your coffee is in your hand.”
Lam said she is new to the world of barista competitions, only starting them last year and winning an in-house latte art competition. She remains focused on doing what she loves.
“I have to honestly say I love my regulars; such a great collection of human beings. The coffee, oh man, making coffee is such a beautiful, satisfying job. There's so much to it to learn and it is forever changing with the industry, season, location, water and roast. Just this last year I have developed so much as a barista; it's a great combination of patience, love and technicality.”
Winners of the People’s Choice award will be announced after voting closes on Saturday. The winning barista will receive a trophy and other prizes, including bragging rights. To vote for your favourite New Zealand barista, visit nzcra.org.nz..