The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Honoka Kawashima’s origami inspired coffee blends simplicity with detail

Honoka Kawashima’s origami inspired coffee blends simplicity with detail

Honoka Kawashima, the reigning Aotearoa NZ Barista Champion of 2023, has secured fourth place in the World Barista Championships held in Busan, South Korea.

Outshining 60 competitors from nations worldwide, Honoka’s journey to the final day of the World Barista Championship,( hosted last weekend at the BEXCO Centre as part of the World of Coffee Asia event), has been a testament to her dedication and talent reports the New Zealand Specialty Coffee Association.

“Her approach to coffee, akin to the art of origami, blends simplicity with intricacy, resulting in captivating presentations. Embracing a philosophy that coffee doesn’t need complexity to be beautiful, Honoka’s routine has been lauded for its youthful charm and delightful execution.”

At the heart of Honoka’s performance was the Maragesha, a Gesha/Maragogype hybrid from Finca Villa Betulia in Huila, Colombia, meticulously grown by Luis Anibal at 1,500 metres above sea level.

This choice, described by Carlos Arcila of Cofinet, the coffee importer, as the best of two worlds, was roasted by Frank Hsu of Frank’s Coffee, Wellington using an infrared roaster and rested for 30 days to perfection, showcasing both the coffee’s quality and Frank’s meticulous roasting process.

Explaining her affinity for origami, Honoka said: “Origami represents the unfolding of something simple into something extraordinary, much like the experience of enjoying coffee.”

Her favourite pattern, a simple heart, symbolises her affection for coffee and the connections it fosters among people.

Honoka served 12 beverages to four sensory judges in 15 minutes, set to music, including:-

Milk Course: A harmonious blend of 90% high-fat cow’s milk and 10% almond milk, evoking chocolate brownie, shortbread, and a lingering raisin aftertaste.

Signature Drink: A vibrant infusion of orange, red apple, and strawberry with tomato water and distilled almond milk, enhanced by a tea/fructose syrup, hyper chilled, offering layers of rock melon, sour plum, and ginger ale.

Espresso Course: A meticulously crafted espresso, boasting notes of pink grapefruit, pineapple, and hibiscus, celebrated for its medium body and silky texture.

Honoka’s coach, Logan Collinge, shared, “The journey here has been a roller coaster,” while Honoka expressed gratitude for the overwhelming encouragement she has received.

Reflecting on her experience in Busan, Honoka emphasised the bonds formed and lessons learned, underscoring the community spirit inherent in coffee culture. “We’re all in this together,” she remarked, acknowledging the support that buoyed her throughout the competition.

Honoka’s husband, Nico Tsubasa, is the 2023 Meadow Fresh NZ Latte Art Champion, and will represent New Zealand at the World Latte Art Championship in Copenhagen this June.

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