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The Evoke coffee blend developed by Steve Wilson in Dunedin last August won a silver medal in the cappuccino blend category at the inaugural Australian International Coffee Awards, in Melbourne.
More than 600 entries from 132 exhibitors were entered in the awards, held at the Melbourne Showgrounds last week. Four gold, 30 silver and 140 bronze medals were awarded.
''We were totally blown away. We didn't think we'd stand a chance,'' Mr Wilson said yesterday.
''It was huge event. It would have been twice the size of Carisbrook. There were people there from Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Holland, Colombia and all over the world.''
Mr Wilson operates Ironic Cafe and Toitu Cafe with partner Sue Moller and developed Evoke last year.
''We saw roasting our own blend as a way to get an edge in the recession. There are a lot of cafes in Dunedin, but quite a few have closed since Christmas-time,'' he said.
''We do a lot of stuff here from scratch, like our bread, and we wanted to do something similar with our coffee.
''We use single-origin coffee from Colombia. They're high-grade arabica beans; the big fat ones.
''We also roast a little bit lighter. When you do a lighter roast you get nicer acid sweets coming through ... the lighter caramels and sweetness ... You've got to get the right balance and it's got to be able to cut through the milk.
''I've always had a real passion for coffee. I've been in the hospitality industry for 35 years and it's been a ritual every morning.
''I come in to work and have a coffee. A lot of people get pleasure from that first cup of coffee of the day.''