From left to right – the top three baristas from the 2017 NZ Specialty Coffee Association Barista Championships: 3rd – Frank Hsu, 1st – Dove Chen, 2nd – Alex Casserly (photo credit Dianne Wang).

Winning barista, Dove Chen of Grey St Kitchen in Hamilton is no stranger to the NZ Specialty Coffee Association competitions. He placed eighth in 2015 and third in 2016 when he was a mere two points from first place. Dove’s hard work and determination over the last year paid off seeing him crowned the Meadow Fresh New Zealand Barista Champion 2017.

Runner-up, Alex Casserly from Crafted Coffee Company in Christchurch, took the crowd on a nostalgic spellbinding journey with a delicious coffee. Firm local favourite, Frank Hsu from Frank’s in Wellington took out third place.

Dove Chen placed eighth in 2015 and third in 2016, when he was a mere two points from first place.

Dove’s Extra Grueso Natural Geisha was grown by Jose Manuel Gallardo of Finca Nuguo.  Processed naturally and then fermented in Panama, the coffee was then shipped to Auckland and roasted by Scott Pepler.

Dove’s signature beverage was comprised of fermented pineapple juice and freeze dried fruit that he transformed into juice. The judge’s palates were treated to flavour notes of warm lemon meringue pie and toasted sugar cane in the milk based beverage round.

Rounding out the six were the following baristas: 4th: Mike Tan 5th: Nara Lee 6th: Isaac Yu.

Dove is now preparing for the World Barista Championship 2017 which will be held in November in Seoul.  As MC Nick Clark, and former New Zealand Barista Champion 2013, closed the competition, hosted by the Wellington L’affare team, he reminded Dove that he has the whole of the New Zealand coffee industry at his disposal to help him in his efforts to bring home the World Champion title.

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