If you can't survive a day without at least one cup of coffee, or if the only thing saving you from your afternoon slump is that hit of caffeine, you're not alone.

Take it from Aga Rojewska, the 2018 World Barista Champion who tells me she drinks 20 to 30 cups daily - with the occasional day off. Whether it's to keep her alert when she travels or simply to enjoy the brew, it's safe to say Rojewska has coffee in her veins.

Considered a rock star in the coffee world - she's been on the receiving end of star struck baristas in Australia and New Zealand recently - Rojewska is the first woman in the barista champs' 19-year history to win the competition.

Visiting Auckland from Poland to host an Almond Breeze Barista Blend masterclass last weekend, she shared with the Herald some key points for making a good coffee.


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Firstly, for those who tend to sip at their coffee over the course of the morning, Rojewska says you're missing out on the best part. It's very important to make and enjoy coffee fresh because after about 15 minutes, 75 per cent of the aroma disappears.

When making espresso, once you've ground your beans and are packing, or "tamping" them into the filter holder, it's key to get the level of the coffee straight. That's so the water pours through evenly or one part will end up over-extracted and the rest will be under-extracted.

If you're concerned about extraction, there are two tell-tale things to note in the taste: if it tastes sour it's under-extracted but if it's bitter it's over-extracted.

From your extraction you want about 40 to 50mls of coffee, "It's going to be very intense," says Rojewska.

Beyond getting the coffee just right, Rojewska shared some key tips for making your coffee look impressive too - and she should know, she's spent the last 10 years perfecting her latte art skill set.

Perhaps foolishly, I decided to have a go too - on camera.

To create a masterpiece in your latte, first, take your heated milk foam, which Rojewska refers to as "paint", and give it a strong swirl to make sure it's a perfect consistency.


Then, from about 10cm above your cup, keep your hand very steady and pour the milk in one spot. As the cup nears to being full, lower the spout closer to create a white blob on the surface of your coffee.

From here, with a steady hand close to the cup, you'll have the control to draw whatever you'd like. I started with a simple heart closely guided by Rojewska.

Becoming the world's best obviously requires a significant amount of practice. Rojewska joked that after 10,000 hours I should be at champion status.

"You only need about 9,999 attempts to be a champion. That's 400 cups a day, so two years should be fine."