Hanna Teramoto from Parnell's Espresso Workshop has been crowned the best barista in NZ.
Hanna Teramoto from Parnell's Espresso Workshop has been crowned the best barista in NZ. Dean Purcell

Great coffee's all about detail - champ

CALM attention to detail means customers queued up each morning are likely to get a coffee of the quality that saw Hanna Teramoto crowned New Zealand's top barista.

Mrs Teramoto, 38, is a barista at Espresso Workshop in Parnell and talked about her craft yesterday before making the Herald one of her award-winning coffees.

There's no one secret - each step from selection of beans to roasting and final preparation is important, she said.

"It's all down to how you interpret that coffee and how you extract it. Personally I like low milk temperature - it's all that combination that comes together."

Mrs Teramoto, who was born in Japan and grew up in Australia, came to New Zealand in 2007.

The move brought a career change - she had been a systems administrator.

The pressure of a long line of customers at 8.50am took some getting used to, she said. "Back in the day I used to almost panic when I had a massive rush, but I've been making coffee for a while now and when I see lots of people it's just, 'I'll manage'.

"There are always things you can do to make things at the same time and manage to have the same quality ... just paying attention to detail and a lot of concentration."

Mrs Teramoto, who has entered the national champs five times, said one great thing about being a barista was getting to know regular customers and how they liked their coffee.

Espresso Workshop regularly changes the blends of coffee it uses.

Owner Andrew Smart said New Zealand coffee-drinkers were slowly moving away from expecting all coffees to be the same - generally a milky flat white.

More people were open to tasting the array of flavours that can be present in coffee, he said.

Mrs Teramoto's dedication and focus meant she was the ideal barista to give customers that experience.

"A key thing is knowledge ... even the humidity or climate can change the end result in the coffee, so it's having the knowledge to know what to do."

And the coffee? Good enough for this reporter to question the worth of the dollar or so saved with his usual bakery chain blend.

An online survey, meanwhile, shows the flat white reigns among Auckland coffee drinkers.