We caught up with Mojo barista and cafe manager, Logan Collinge ahead of the 2018 New Zealand Barista Championship this month. The winner will represent New Zealand and travel to the World Barista Championship 2018 held in conjunction with World of Coffee in Amsterdam, this June.
What drove you too compete this year besides having a huge passion for coffee?
L: I competed 4 years ago, I really wanted to learn more about the origins of coffee and the process behind. This year, its for the same reasons but I also really enjoy being around like-minded people. The best part is seeing different perspectives and seeing how other baristas approach coffee in an intriguing way. I have always enjoying the people part of hospitality and I think the competitions is a good mix of people and coffee. I love that everyone it in it for their passion for coffee.
Tell us about the coffee you are using?
L: I’m using a Costa Rican coffee. The coffee is grown on Finca Terra Bella farm in the Naranjo De Alajuela region by Carlos Batalla. I have a passion for the region, they are doing a lot of interesting things, it’s relatively young country of coffee producers and they are very in tune with the speciality side of coffee. They are not afraid to challenge traditional processing methods and they are pushing boundaries. The coffee I’m using in the competition is yellow honey process; which is a fusion of washed and natural process. This process is unique because the outer cherry is stripped off, but it’s still dried with some of the cherry mucilage in-tack so you get a lot of fruit sweetness from the cherry but the flavour is not as intense and funky as a natural process coffee. For me, the yellow honey process represents how innovative and experimental the Costa Rican farmers are, it’s a testament to their approach. These fantastic coffees really show how much effort and passion they put into their processes.
Tell me how you are preparing for the champs?
L: [nervous laugh] I’m preparing for the champs by setting up as I would on the day of. There is a lot a lot talking to yourself! People must think I’m crazy when they walk by our café after closing. Prior to this I was doing a lot of tasting coffees. I needed to figure out recipes and highlight the strength of the coffee. I had about 12 espresso a night. I’m very lucky to have the support of the team at The Beanery and my coffee mentor, Mass; they have a wealth of knowledge and experience.
What is the most exciting thing about competing?
L: If, and when, you find a good coffee, you can get really excited about it and you want to share it. For me, it was what the farmers are doing and I wanted to share this and get everyone excited about it too.
GO LOGAN, team Mojo is behind you!
If you would like to support Logan, he will be competing at 11am (first!) on Saturday April 14th. The event is free and open to the public with free coffee tasting involved!
Where: Expressions Arts and Entertainment Centre- 836 Fergusson Drive, Upper Hutt.