La Marzocco was a proud machine sponsor of the recent Coffee in Good Spirits – Auckland competition which took place on Thursday 5, December at Atomic Coffee Roasters in Kingsland. Eight competitors (An Nguyen, Emma Barry, Nico Refiti, Alex Hobson, Conor Budina, Isabella Brown, Matthew Stevens, and Conor D’Arcy) faced off in an epic battle of the barista-mixologist to create one of kind coffee cocktails, starting with a warm round, advancing to a cold round, with only the best of the night moving forward to the final throwdown, which was a new twist on the classic espresso martini made using the Linea Mini.

The event was a mix of coffee and community, and spectators joined in on the festive celebration which included drinks from the Atomic bar and delicious meatballs and pasta from the Baduzzi food truck.

Our New Zealand General Manager, Tom Handiside, an accomplished imbiber and hospo veteran who put in time in the booze game before moving into speciality coffee, was one of the judges on the night. The competition was fierce with many competitors serving up both tasty and potent concoctions. The sipping/judging proved to be hard work, and Tom told us that he was wide awake well into the night, riding the waves of the caffeine kick.

the finalists

Nico Refiti and An Nguyen made it to the final round and faced off to see who could make the best espresso martini. The final decision split the judges, proving that the pair of baristas were evenly matched, making the competition even more fun to watch.

and the winner is…

The overall winner of the competition was An Nguyen who took home a $1000 cash prize. An is a former NZ Aeropress Champion and competed at the MFNZBC in 2019. You might recognise him from his day job as sales rep at JDE Coffee or if you love a good cocktail you might be following his Instagram account which beautifully documents his amazing creations.

the winning espresso martini recipe

Coffee Natural Honduras 20g in – 40g out
20ml Coldbrew liqueur *
30ml Cranberry infused vodka *
10ml milk washed *

Shake with large ice cubes ( 160g to 180g)

 *Coldbrew liqueur

100g cold brew 1:4 ratio
100g Demerara sugar
180g Vodka

* Cranberry infused vodka

30g dried cranberry
90g vodka

Soak overnight

*Milk washed

5g citric acid
200g milk

Heat up the milk until it reaches 30 degrees and then strain it into a paper filter. This will give the drink a creamy mouthfeel and smooth out the sharp back taste of the vodka.

tom’s top pick for most creative cocktail

There wasn’t an award for the most creative cocktail at this year’s throwdown, but if an award had been given, we think it would have gone to Nico Refiti from Ozone Coffee Roasters for his cold cocktail.

For my cold cocktail, I was inspired by the Italian soda Chinotto, which uses a variety of bitter oranges as the main flavour. I chose a Costa Rican Black Honey Geisha with floral and citrus notes as my coffee and used an Aeropress recipe to make a highly concentrated and extracted coffee. Cointreau, Vodka and Caperitif Vermouth provided the strength, orange and some herbaceous notes to the cocktail. Finally I chose to balance the beverage with corn syrup instead of simple syrup for the extra body, lime juice and a few drops of saturated saline solution.

– Nico Refiti

the recipe

30g Dose of Ruva” Black Honey Geisha, Costa Rica (Lookout for it’s release early 2020)
100g Water at 96 degrees
30 seconds agitation. Plunge at 1 minute.

30g of Ruva Aeropress
15ml Cointreau
15ml Caperitif
30ml Vodka
5ml Lime Juice
15ml Corn Syrup
2 drops Saline

Shaken and served in a rocks glass over ice and topped with soda and garnished with a cucumber ribbon.

Other event sponsors included the New Zealand Specialty Coffee AssociationAMC Roastery Supply NZ, and Atomic Coffee.