Brazil beckons top taster

06 August, 2018 by
Hospitality Business

L-R, Takahito Koyanagi, Stuart Hargie, Woo Hyung Lee and May Chen Photo credits Yongzhi Zhang @jjang.yougjii


It was packed to the rafters at L’affare Melrose in Newmarket, Auckland where a record 34 competitors tasted their way through multiple triangulations to uncover New Zealand’s most accurate and expeditious coffee cupper.

The New Zealand Specialty Coffee Association (NZSCA) holds the license to run the national leg of the World Cup Tasters Championship and the event is held in strict accordance with the WCE’s Rules and Regulations. The World Cup Taster’s Championship will take place in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, during International Coffee Week, November 7-9.

The New Zealand Cup Tasters Championship selects the professional coffee cupper who demonstrates speed, skill, and accuracy in distinguishing the taste differences in specialty coffees.


Coffees of the world have many distinct taste characteristics and in this competition format, the objective is for the cupper to discriminate between the different coffees. Three cups are placed in a triangle, with two cups being identical coffees and one cup being a different coffee. Using skills of smell, taste, attention and experience, the cupper identifies  the odd cup in the triangle as quickly as they can.

A total of eight triangles are placed in each round. Then the top four compete again in the final round to determine the next New Zealand Cup Tasters Champion.

This year the four finalists included two last-minute entrants. In fourth place was Woo Hyung Lee of Camper Coffee, a two-time New Zealand AeroPress Champion; May Chan of Story Coffee took third place; Takahito Koyanagi of Toasted Espresso, who won the title in 2016 was runner-up and  Stuart Hargie, who last held the title in 2011, was the only finalist to achieve a perfect 8/8 score in a mere four minutes and 11 seconds, securing his victory and the 2018 NZ Cup Tasters title.

Hospitality Business is proud to be working closely with the NZ Specialty Association to increase awareness of their great events through the year and information for members.

For more information about NZ Specialty Coffee Association, head to or follow @nzspecialtycoffee on Facebook.