New Zealand's top barista will be named today as competitors from across the country put their espresso skills to the test.
A total of 22 competitors, including seven from Auckland and nine from Wellington, entered the New Zealand Barista Championship in Wellington this year.
After two days of heats, 12 semi-finalists and six finalists will compete for the title today. The winner will travel to Rimini, Italy later this year to compete in the World Barista Championship.
The baristas must create perfect espressos and cappuccinos, as well as four signature drinks to highlight their skill and imagination.
Head judge Jessica Godfrey said competitors would need to keep a cool head and stay in control of the whole process, from brewing and extraction right through to tasting.
"It's also about performance. Top baristas have big personalities and put on a show when they're working. People are drawn to them because they impart their love for coffee into everything they do."
Among the semi-finalists are five Aucklanders - Hanna Teramoto from Espresso Workshop, Albert Au from Bespeciality, Isaac Hong from The Shelf, and Alla Heta and Greg Phillips from Bell Tea and Coffee.
Last year's winner, Nick Clark from Flight Coffee in Wellington, went on to place fifth in the World Barista Championship in Melbourne.