Insiders Guide - Jess Godfrey
What are you looking for in a good barista?
A champion barista not only makes high quality espresso beverages but also has a depth of knowledge beyond the coffees they serve and conveys a real passion for the industry they are working in.
How do New Zealand baristas stack up on an international level?
Getting a good espresso at a cafe in New Zealand is much more likely than anywhere else in the world. At the competitive end of the market, like at the World Barista Championship, it's tough. It's the Olympics. Some of these national champions are able to train all year, visit the farms that the coffee is grown on, get training by former champions.
There’s a Signature beverage section in the competition, what’s that about?
A Signature beverage is a demonstration of the competitor’s creativity and skill to create an appealing and original espresso beverage. At its best it is a complete exploration of the exact coffee the barista has chosen to prepare for the judges - with the ingredients and preparation methods really complementing and showcasing the espresso.
What will people see if they come and check out the competition?
Each competitor has 15 minutes to demonstrate their skills at preparing espresso beverages, but also communicating their knowledge of the coffee they have selected. Each performance is very different despite everyone having the same set of rules and time frame. There's a countdown timer which can add tension when a barista comes close to running out of time.
Any tips for making a good espresso at home?
Buy a Rocket! I'm biased as that’s the machine I have at home. There are other good machines, but they all come with a price tag. If you haven't got the budget for a decent machine then there are a lot of inexpensive filter options that are capable of making great, just different, coffee.
Where’s the best place to store your coffee beans?
Purchase no more than a week or ten days of beans at a time and then store them in a tin in your pantry. There's nothing worse than old coffee. It's worse than old bread.