2018 Specialty Coffee Guild Committee

Nico Refiti | 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.

Ria Lingard | NZSCG
Restaurant Brands, 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!


David Huang
Black and Gold eatery, Auckland  

I have been in coffee since 2001, starting off as a grass root cafe runner and working 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, be it 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. I 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 breathe coffee, make coffee not war 🙂

Sam Low
Mojo Coffee, Auckland

I have been in the coffee industry for over six 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 New Zealand’s 2016 Barista champion and the 2013 and 2015 New Zealand 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 in 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 New Zealand 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.

John Cole
Mojo Coffee, Wellington

Originally born and raised in America, John proudly calls New Zealand home, where his love of coffee began many years ago.  He is the father of three crazy but amazing kids and is blessed to be married to one incredible woman.  John is head of education at Mojo Coffee based in Wellington and has been in specialty coffee for over ten years, working in many roles as a barista, cafe manager, and trainer, both in the United States and New Zealand.  During that time he’s competed in the New Zealand Brewers Cup and had the honour of judging in the New Zealand Barista Championship on multiple occasions.  John has a great love for education and the overall experience for both our customers and coffee professionals.  He is proud to support the next generation of coffee professionals flourishing and pushing the New Zealand industry forward.