WBC Finalist #2: Nick Clark of New Zealand

Nick is a fantastic guy—so friendly, so humble, and a large part of the growing barista community in New Zealand.

Nick begins his performance by telling the judges how in love with his coffee he is — he says the first time he walked into the roastery—Flight Coffee Roasters, which he co-owns–this coffee, French Mission sundried, was singing to him. This coffee was sourced for Flight by Cafe Imports, by the way.

Nick is a fantastic guy—so friendly, so humble, and a large part of the growing barista community in New Zealand.

Nick is a fantastic guy—so friendly, so humble, and a large part of the growing barista community in New Zealand.

There are tons of Kiwis in the crowd today—Nick’s family and friends from nearby New Zealand. This guy is tops in my book—I’ve had the pleasure of hanging out with him and his pals over the last few days, and they’re such a bunch of fun. Nick is one of the best kinds of competitors: humble, honest, fun loving, and super duper passionate about coffee. It’s no wonder he’s here in the finals, though a Kiwi hasn’t made  it this far in the WBC since Carl Sara (current chair of the World Coffee Events organization) made it to finals at the WBC in Tokyo in 2007.

Everyone's buzzing about how Nick incorporated a tactile representation of the coffee, which he says was inspired by a wine theory.

Everyone’s buzzing about how Nick incorporated a tactile representation of the coffee, which he says was inspired by a wine theory.

Nick’s got a cool tactile component to his performance: he’s created little boards for each judge, with different textures—rough, smooth, silky, etc.—that he instructs them to run their fingers across to demonstrate the way his coffee is going to taste. It’s cool—I’ve never seen anything like it.

It's impossible not to be engaged by Nick—he's got charisma in spades.

It’s impossible not to be engaged by Nick—he’s got charisma in spades.

It’s a concept he comes back to for his sig drink—he deconstructs the coffee in relation to the processing method. He offers the judges little bottoles, each of which represents one of three components: sweetness, acidity, and bitterness. For example, for acidity, he uses raspberry but tempers it with rose petals; for sweetness, he uses sundried nectarines; and for bitterness, he uses coconut infused with water. He tells the judges, “Just like the sundried natural processing method, it takes time to get it right.”

Bravo, Nick. You killed it.

About the Author

Sarah

Sarah Allen is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.