2017 Specialty Coffee Guild Committee

Ria Lingard | NZSCG chair
Cerebos Gregg’s, Auckland

I am a  Product Development Manager for Restaurant Brands. It’s quite a unique job as I get to turn ideas (or cravings!) to life, working side by side with international brand experts. I also manage the new product development projects for all the brands and every day is different!
I’ve been lucky to have competed at the 2016 New Zealand Brewer’s Cup and World Brewer’s Cup in Dublin. I’m really pleased to be involved with an amazing team of people to further elevate and create inspiring opportunities within the local coffee industry!

Nico Refiti | NZSCG co-chair
Ozone Coffee Roasters, New Plymouth

Originally growing up in the central suburbs of Auckland and spending a few years slinging coffees and cocktails in Australia, I’m now settled down in New Plymouth.

Having spent my entire working life in and around the hospitality industry I’ve sampled many different jobs, but always found myself drawn towards specialty coffee! I now work as a Barista Trainer for Ozone Coffee Roasters and enjoy getting out on the road to visit cafes and baristas across the North Island.

I’ve always had an interest in hospitality competitions and have competed at various levels including the New Zealand Barista Championships the last two years.

I’m passionate about great service, scepticism, teaching and learning something new.




Alex Casserly
Crafted Coffee Company, Christchurch

In my six years in the coffee industry, I have worked a variety of roles. Starting from cafe assistant moving to cafe manager and now director of wholesale for Crafted Coffee Company. My daily job is also filled with a mixture of tasks including, but not exclusive to making coffee in the cafe, roasting, coffee dispatch and wholesale/account management. Along with my six years of industry experience, I have competed three times in the Huhtamaki New Zealand Barista Championship and once in the brewer’s cup with goals of representing New Zealand on the world stage. I aim to use my variety of experience and knowledge, to help best represent the industry and continue to grow the already strong barista/roaster community in New Zealand.

I aim to use my variety of experience and knowledge, to help best represent the industry and continue to grow the already strong barista/roaster community in New Zealand.

David Huang
Black and Gold eatery, Auckland  

I have been in coffee since 2001, started off as grass root cafe runner and worked my way up through barista, cafe manager, barista trainer, operation manager/roaster and now a hospitality business owner. I have also been active in the community scene, let it be competing/judging in barista competition or eating sausages and slurping coffee in the background of a coffee event.
My true passion has been with developing coffee and the people that share the same goal. Live by the code of striving for excellence and sharing is caring. Giving back to the community that nurtured me is to become part of my professional goal. Let us live and breath coffee, make coffee not war 🙂

Zach Widener
Caribe Coffee, Wellington

My story is quite unique. I was born in America, raised in South America and the Caribbean mainly Jamaica by my Father who was in Government work. I first learned about the coffee business in Jamaica. We would sell roasted coffee at my parents business in Jamaica. I worked as a PADI Dive Instructor for many years in the family biz from as early as 15. We had a Duty Free shop open 365 days a year and I sold a lot of Blue Mountain coffee as a youth.

I worked in complex IT solutions provider roles for the next 15 years moved to New Zealand then met and married my beautiful wife Naomi. Together we started and continue to run our Roasting business in 2008 from the ground up and we have been staunchly Independent. I come from outside of the industry and that gives me a great perspective.

Sam Low
Mojo Coffee

I have been in the coffee industry for over 6 years and it has taught me many transferable hospitality skills like management, communication and training people.
Being in the specialty coffee industry helps drive my other passions such as food, beverages and the pursuit of flavour.

My interest in coffee was sparked from, not only pretty pictures on top of coffee but people’s perception and lack of understanding of this product, this made me want to become an expert in it.
Through competitions, I was fortunate enough to have been awarded the title of NZ’s 2016 Barista champion and the 2013 & 2015 NZ Latte art champion which allowed me to compete in international coffee championships in various countries such as Ireland, Sweden and France.

Ultimately I want specialty coffee to be at the same perceived status of other amazing artisan culinary products out there like cheese, wine, beer etc.
I am excited to be a part of the NZ coffee scene again after spending some time in Melbourne, and being in the Specialty Coffee Guild Committee makes it all the more exciting to be pushing our industry further hoping to pave the way for the new generation of coffee leaders.