Barista Champion of New Zealand

Editor’s note: As we approach the beginning of the 2014 World Barista Championship, which takes place in Rimini, Italy, June 9 “12, at the SCAE’s World of Coffee event, we would like to introduce you to the National Barista Champions who all worked incredibly hard to earn a position in this preeminent coffee contest. Profiles of all 54 competitors will appear on Barista Magazine’s blog between Monday, June 2, and Monday, June 9, and can all be accessed under the category header “WBC 2014 Rimini.”

Hiroko Hanna Teramoto
Espresso Workshop

New Zealand's Hiroko
New Zealand’s Hiroko Hanna Teramoto

Coach: Akio Teramoto

About you: My name is Hanna Teramoto. I introduce myself as ‘Hanna’ because that’s how my coffee friends know me back in New Zealand. I’m originally Japanese, and moved to New Zealand 7 years ago. Since then, I’ve been making coffee, and competed in the national championships 5 times. I’m looking forward to making many friends at the WBC.

How many years have you worked with coffee or in the coffee industry?
6 years

Before coffee, did you work in a different job or industry, or what did you study in school?
Before coffee, I was living in Japan, working as an assistant systems administrator for about 4 years in a TV ads production company. I chose to be in the mass media because I was a semi-pro radio DJ in my university years.

How did you get started in coffee?
Initial dream that I had with my hubby (who is my coach for this WBC) was to start up our own cafe in the future in New Zealand. We both had no hospitality background, so I decided to look for a job in a cafe soon after we arrived from Japan. But every job vacancy that I found was asking for some skills in coffee making. I didn’t think much, just went straight into taking decent hours of private practice, and that’s where I felt this could be my real thing that I want to pursue. Ever since, I’m stuck with being a barista and thinking about coffee!

What was your first amazing experience with coffee?
I lived in Christchurch for the first 3 years of my New Zealand life. Christchurch has three Champion baristas, Carl Sara, Luciano Marcolino, and Hide Kono. I was very blessed that I got to know all three of them. My first amazing experience with coffee was when I was spectating at the NZ Barista Championship in Christchurch, I sneaked up on the station runners to taste Luciano’s coffee. I remember he was using Ethiopian Guji and the blueberry note was something that I’ve never experienced before. It was sensational.

Who has been your greatest influence in coffee? Why?
That would be Carl Sara. I watched him compete back in the day, and my first national championship experience was his last one – or if I should say ‘his last one before break’. He was so up high above me, and to me at that time it would have been sheer arrogance even speaking to him. That’s why I remember so clearly when he came up to me after my first ever performance at the national championship, and said my performance was good. Since then, every year when I’d competed, I’ve always asked myself ‘is this good enough to show Carl?’ Even now, I’m still trying to get closer to where he is, to his knowledge and his mind.

What would you like to see change about the coffee industry/community?
I joined the New Zealand Barista Guild Committee about a year ago. I had a hope that Auckland baristas would bond, help, and learn more from each other as we are the largest population out of the other two big cities. We held events regularly for them to get to know each other more, and slowly, the group is becoming larger, and more people are showing interest in each event. As we make our Auckland community strong, our committee would help each other to connect with other cities, and hopefully we can become a one big group. We are almost there. This is getting more and more exciting specially when I think about the next stage of the New Zealand Barista Guild.

Name a coffee luminary (famous person) you would like to meet, and why:
I know that I would enjoy the whole moment if I had the chance to meet one, but to be honest, I don’t really have one. Just like I don’t have one particular singer or actor that I really like.

Name a barista you admire, and why:
I would have to say it’s Hide Kono. If I hadn’t met him at the right time, I wouldn’t be here today. He’s the person who pushed my back to compete, and trained me in my early days of my barista life. I always watched his back like a little sister, and he guided me on to the right track. We live in different cities now, but I still remember what he taught me and refer back to it when I make decisions.

Do you have a favorite customer? If so, tell us about him or her.
We are pretty close to our regular customers. We invite them for our Christmas party and exchange presents. They invite us over for their parties and so on. This is why it’s hard to decide for ‘a favourite customer’. We’re just like one big family.

Besides your own cafe, what cafe do you think everyone should visit?
I don’t really want to push people to go to a particular cafe just because I enjoy it, because it doesn’t necessarily mean that they would enjoy the same thing that I do. So I can only recommend from my own perspective, and if I were to recommend one, that would be Ben in Auckland, New Zealand. This is the place that I go apart from my work when I want coffee, and they always have good and interesting lineups.

Which coffee producing country you would like to visit, and why?
I would definitely like to visit Ethiopia at some stage, when I’m more knowledgeable and to be able to understand what I want to absorb from visiting that country. Ethiopia is special to me because it brought me the win in the national championship.

What are your interests outside of coffee?
I think my biggest interest outside coffee would be something to do with zombies. I enjoy watching horror movies specially the good zombie ones, playing TV games that has a good plot with zombies too. But just to let people know that I’m not that weird, I do like to socialise with friends too. Not just on FB but to actually catch up for a drink or two.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I’m a person who puts milestones in a short distance so I can’t yet picture myself that far. My parents are moving to New Zealand soon and I know things will have to change at that stage, but I can’t picture how it would change because the factor that may cause the change is not just up to me. But one thing I could say, is that I would keep making coffee and keep learning more. I won’t let any factor stop me from doing that.

Is there anyone you would like to thank or who helped you prepare for the WBC?
I’d like to thank my husband, Akio Teramoto, the most for supporting me competing right from day one. He’s also here as my coach for the WBC. I’d also like to thank Mieko who helped me with sorting coffee from the national championship, along with Setsuko and my whole team of 10 people spending hours after their own work. Huge thanks to Team Espresso Workshop for supporting me all along, especially my roaster/boss Andrew Smart for letting me train whenever I felt like, supporting me with coffee and everything. Thanks to Team New Zealand for putting faith in me, supporting me, and sending me off to represent our country. Team New Zealand includes all my friends who supported me, too. Thanks to my parents in Japan for always praying for me, and sending over accessories that I wanted to use for competitions. Thanks to my grandmother and in-laws for praying all the time, and finally my uncle who passed away in January who believed in me and pushed me to become the champion in the nationals that lead me to this WBC.


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