Top Latte Artist in Vancouver Contest

Hi there,

you are invited to be part of an exciting Latte Art competition happening Online right now until the end of July and were hoping you would like to join in.

ECM Espresso Coffee Machines Co. has joined forces with Talent Games Inc. and Powered by Starbeat to bring you a “Free Pour” Latte Art contest with the potential of winning up to $4,000!

Approved by the Canadian Barista and Coffee Academy – Vancouver Campus

Click on the poster to enter

Top Latte Artist Contest

March Cupping update

Monthly Coffee tastings to continue … First Sunday of the month in Vancouver.

The March cupping was held on the 6th.  On the table there were 11 coffees and almost 30 people came out.  Look forward to seeing the group grow.  If you are a roaster or cafe and want to supply coffees or host the event, please get in touch via email.


Coffees on the table

The Barn Berlin Columbia Finca Tamana, Rwanda Mahembe, Rwanda Cyanika

Elm Coffee, Seattle USA Kenya Nyeri Tambaya

Bar nine, LA Guatemala Finca La Hermosa

Olympia Coffee, Olympia USA Columbia San Sebastian

Sweet Bloom Rwanda Gitesi

Slate Coffee, Seattle USA Ethiopian Yergecheffe

32 Lakes Coffee Roasters, Powell River BC

Colombo Uganda Sipo Falls

A Mystery  Ethiopian coffee

New Community Coffee Cupping, Vancouver

I’ll let you in on a ‘not-so-secret’ coffee tasting that a few souls are doing this week

Why: To discover new tastes and things while being awesome

Where: Propaganda Coffee, 209 E Pender St

When: Sunday, 5th of March

Who: YOU and some friends


Submit your coffee for our cuppings, OR dare to host us – just get in touch.



a unanimous resounding cheer of coffee goers crash the doors of local cafes

In reality, we hope it is all good well-behaved fun.

You are cordially invited to share in the annual gathering of Canadian coffee community at Matchstick & Propaganda.  These will be hosted on Sunday, October 4 after the first day of competitions.  Tell a friend!


Sunday October 4th at 7pm at

Matchstick Coffee Roasters GEORGIA ST. LOCATION & Propaganda Coffee PENDER ST. 

Tickets are free but RSVP would be appreciated click to register.

PropagandaPoster flyer



Get ready for the fun! We are gathering in Vancouver and the coffee-fun ensues.

If you missed the newsletter here it is:

Registration for judges and volunteers is now open! You can be part of the few that get a fancy t-shirt and good times behind-the-scenes by volunteering at this link. 


Congratulations to CJ and Edmond!

The field may have been small, but the competition was fierce.  CJ Yang of 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters, and Edmond Keung of Moving Coffee, duelled it out head to head in three separate rounds of espresso, cappuccino and signature drinks at the Western Regional this Wednesday.

In the end, CJ narrowly edged out Edmond , making CJ Yang our 2015 Western Regional Barista Champion!

The quality of the performances were exceptional, and both of them will represent the Western region well at the Canadian National Barista Championship that will be held at Oct 4-5 at the Coffee tea show.

You can volunteer on baristacanada if you would like a front row seat!

edmondtable stacey and gianni benrugg cjtable

Wheel of Misfortune Barista Jam @ Rocanini, June 5th, 2015

“Barista Jam this friday June 5th, at the new Rocanini Coffee shop in Yaletown, 863 Beatty, ( between Robson and Smithe } 6-9pm

Beer ! , Prizes, Latte-Art throwdown WITH AN EXCITING TWIST!…The dreaded “wheel of misfortune”! (wheel of insanity?)

Contestants face off head to head, and spin the wheel to find out what cup they have to use, what steam pitcher, what milk, etc.

A true test of their latteart skills . Judges will determine the winner of each pair, who moves on to the next round, Bracket style.

Winner gets cash money and GLORY!

Come watch, but mostly come and compete. Everyone has a chance to win this throw-down!
( Trash talking encouraged, some assembly required and batteries are ALWAYS included because they are just freak’n batteries ).

Stay Tuned for Details and Registration!”

There will be coffee’s to taste and lots of other things to do.. So come down and get your caffeine on to kick off your weekend !”

2015 Prairie Regional Barista Competition

2015 Prairie Regional Barista Competition (PRBC) hosted by Prairie Coffee Collective on August 15th, 2015 at Festival Hall – 1215 10 Ave SE Calgary, AB. A day of workshops will be offered on August 16th, 2015 – topics to be announced soon at Registration for volunteers, competitors and judges now open! Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @prairiecoffeeco


Registration for judges and volunteers is now open!

Other Regionals will be announced soon – stay posted!

Submit a proposal from your company or community to host a 2015 Regional Barista Championship. Deadline is May.31st

Registration 2015…

Central Regional Barista Competition will be accepting registrations May 9th, 2015 at noon EST.  First come first serve with limited spots.

Registration for judges and volunteers is now open!

Other Regionals will be announced soon – stay posted!

CNBC 2014 Results

2014 Canadian National Barista Championship (CNBC) Results


Monday September 29th, 2014

  1. Ben Put from Monogram Coffee: 586 pts
  2. Joshua Tarlo from Reunion Island Coffee Roasters: 558 pts
  3. Aimee Ferguson from Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters: 543.5 pts
  4. Nathaniel Fried from Pilot Coffee Roasters: 518.5 pts
  5. Andreas Adams from Rosso Coffee Roasters: 498 pts
  6. Cole Trepanier from 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters: 491.5 pts

Round One

Sunday September 28th, 2014

1. Ben Put from Monogram Coffee: 578 pts
2. Aimee Ferguson from Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters: 530 pts
3. Andreas Adams from Rosso Coffee Roasters: 514 pts
4. Nathaniel Fried from Pilot Coffee Roasters: 513 pts
5. Joshua Tarlo from Reunion Island Coffee Roasters: 503 pts
6. Cole Trepanier from 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters: 471.5 pts
7. CJ Yang from 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters: 462.5 pts
7. Jon Plett from Detour Coffee Roasters: 462.5
8. Keaton Ritchie: 461 pts
9. Christopher Tellez from Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters: 457 pts
10. Cole Torode from Rosso Coffee Roasters: 446 pts
11. David Lalonde from Tunnel Espresso: 442 pts
12. Edmond Keung from Moving Coffee 432.5 pts
13. Jean-Daniel Lajoie from Brulerie de café de Québec: 393.5 pts
14. Liam Robichaud from Pourquoi-Pas Espresso Bar: 391 pts
15. Stacey Lynden from Stir Coffee House: 342.5 pts

Thank you to all the competitors, judges, & volunteers for such an incredible event!

We proudly crowned Benjamin Put from Monogram Coffee as the 2014 Canadian National Barista Champion. Ben joins the ranks of legendary Sammy Piccolo as the only champion to win consecutive Canadian National Titles. However, Sammy has set the bar as being the 4 times undefeated Canadian National Champion.

Enormous congratulations to Ben and his team on the win! We know he’ll make us proud at the 2015 World Barista Championship.

2014 CNBC List of Competitors

Check it out, here is our strong list of competitors for the Canadian National Barista Championship 2014

Representing the Prairies (PRBC):

Ben Put from Monogram Coffee

Cole Torode from Rosso Coffee Roasters

Andreas Adams from Rosso Coffee Roasters

Aimee Ferguson from Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters

Representing Eastern Canada (ERBC):

Keaton Ritchie

Liam Robichaud from Pourquoi-Pas Espresso Bar

David Lalonde from Tunnel Espresso

Jean-Daniel Lajoie from Brulerie de café de Québec

Representing Western Canada (WRBC):

Cole Trepanier from 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters

CJ Yang from 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters

Edmond Keung from Moving Coffee

Stacey Lynden from Stir Coffee House

Representing Central Canada (CCBC):

Chris Tellez from Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters

Joshua Tarlo from Reunion Island Coffee Roasters

Nathaniel Fried from Pilot Coffee Roasters

Jon Plett from Detour Coffee Roasters 

This is an amazing list of coffee professionals representing specialty coffee in Canada. Come cheer them on and celebrate the specialty coffee culture of Canada!

This year the Canadian National Barista Competition is September 28th & 29th at The International Centre, Mississauga, Ontario.

Click here to volunteer

2014 Eastern Regional Barista Championship (ERBC) Results

1st Place Winner: Keaton Ritchie

2nd Place Winner: Liam Robichaud from Pourquoi-Pas Espresso Bar

3rd Place Winner: David Lalonde from Tunnel Espresso

4th Place Winner: Jean-Daniel Lajoie from Brulerie de café de Québec

Congratulations to the top 4 from the ERBC 2014 who are invited to compete at the Canadian National Barista Competition: September 28th & 29th at The International Centre, Mississauga, Ontario.

Barista Volunteers needed for Judges Calibration

Hello Baristas!

We are currently looking for barista-volunteers to be available for the National Judges training calibration. There are two positions to be filled.

This is a great opportunity to get a head start on next year’s championships as you will be there in the middle of judges training and calibration. You will get a close view about how judging works, as well as receiving invaluable feedback about your technique, drinks and presentation.

Baristas will be asked to do partial competitive routines and generally just make coffee, on September 27th from (approximately) 11am to 5pm.

Baristas will also be required to pull shots, make cappuccinos on the morning of the first day of Competition, September 28th, and the morning of the Finals, September 29th.

If you will be attending the trade show or will be in Toronto Sept 27th, 28th and 29th, then consider submitting your name.


Barista Canada

please respond by email at

2014 ERBC List of Competitors

In no particular order, the following is the list of competitors for our 2014 Eastern Regional Barista Championship (ERBC)

David Lalonde from Tunnel Espresso

Petee Steiner from Cafe Resonance

Jean-Daniel Lajoie from Brulerie de café de Québec

Liam Robichaud from Pourquoi-Pas Espresso Bar

David Laferrière from Saint-Henri Micro-torréfacteur

Boris Sem from Patrice Pâtissier

Keaton Ritchie from Independant

Elisha Fischer from Bridgehead

Danielle Archer from Just Us! Coffee

PRBC 2014 List of Competitors

In no particular order, the following is the list of competitors for our 2014 Prairie Regional Barista Championship (PRBC)

Cole Torode from Rosso Coffee Roasters

Andreas Adams from Rosso Coffee Roasters

Colton Rempel from Jonny’s Java

Morgan Allen from Atlantis Coffee

Joshua Albers from The House Coffee Sanctuary

Stephen Mckenzie from Parlour Coffee

Nathan Kohlert from Transcend Coffee

Ben Put from Independent

Aimee Ferguson from Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters

Asuka Morita from Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters

List of competitors for our 2014 CCBC

In no particular order, the following is the list of competitors for our 2014 Canadian Central Barista Championship


2014 Central Canadian Barista Competition

The 2014 Central Canadian Barista Competition (CCBC) will be held at Propeller Coffee, 50 Wade Ave. in Toronto, on June 20 and 21, 2014. With the competition’s focus on coffee excellence it’s no surprise it was named as one of the city’s Top 10 Food Events by BlogTO.

This year’s event takes place at Propeller’s awesome new roasting facility and promises “backstage access” to the craft of roasting specialty coffee from cupping, to roasting and brewing. It is an excellent setting to get the story behind the event and a fun way to understand the many steps in the process from seed to cup.

With the support of our sponsors Zuccarini, Mavea, 8 Ounce Coffee, Mahlkonig, Reunion Island and Full Circle, the CCBC will showcase our central Canada’s talents as 20 baristas compete to qualify for the upcoming Canadian National Barista Competition in Toronto.

There’s also more than coffee at the CCBC. Take some time to enjoy a Nickel Brook beer and snack on some great food in between the competitors’ presentations. Or join in on the action and taste their signature drinks made with the new Victoria Arduino Black Eagle. This is a gorgeous Nuova Simonelli espresso machine that features a built-in gravimetric weighing system incorporated into the grate above the drip tray.

This year’s event offers guaranteed fun with killer coffee prizes, including a Baratza Encore Grinder, a selection of Aeropresses and Chemexes and even a vineyard tour at Fieldings’ Winery.

Look out for another returning fan favourite in the So Nice Soy Latte Art Contest, which be happening again in Carvalho’s Cupping Room with the competition’s first Ontario Roasters’ Coffee Cupping Seminars.

The CCBC is also excited to feature 14 of Ontario’s best coffee roasters all in one place for the seminars. They will showcase local roasters’ blends and single origin coffees from Africa, Central America and Indonesia. Did we mention that it’s free? Just tell your boss you’re going on a coffee break!

Come join in on the fun while sipping and steaming your way into the local coffee scene.  Check out the attached schedule or follow us on Twitter at @ccbctoronto for more information.

2014 Brewers Cup

This is an official Canadian Coffee Brewers Cup Championship Event, but, it is not an official sanctioned WCE world coffee event.

The competition was held May 10th, 2014 at Propellor Coffee, Toronto, Ontario

1st place: Damien Zielinski, Capital Espresso

2nd Place: Jason Prior, Detour Coffee

3rd Place: Jordan Croswaite, Cafe Odessa

4th Place: Anne Cumby, The Cannon

5th Place: Keaton Ritchie, Cafe Myriade

6th Place: Brett Johnston, Pilot Coffee

For more in depth information regarding this event, please visit @CanBrewersCup

RESULTS for your 2015 Canadian Barista Championship

A fabulous job by all! Thanks to those who put together the event, there are so many moving parts!

Volunteers, judges, competitors, supporters, and coaches we are talking about all of you.


6th –  407.5 pts Jill Hoff, Monogram Coffee

5th –  419.5 pts David Kim, Phil & Sebastian Coffee

4th –  445 pts Vica Pelivan, De Mello Palheta Coffee Roasters

3rd –  448.5 pts Aimee Ferguson, Phil & Sebastian Coffee

2nd – 487 pts Chris Tellez, Phil & Sebastian Coffee

1st – 493.5 pts Ben Put, Monogram Coffee


We proudly crowned Benjamin Put from Monogram Coffee as the 2015 Canadian National Barista Champion. Ben joins the ranks of legendary Sammy Piccolo as the only champion to win consecutive Canadian National Titles – 3 times in a row for Ben!!! However, Sammy has set the bar as being the 4 times undefeated Canadian National Champion.


Enormous congratulations to Ben and his team on the win! We know he’ll make us proud at the 2016 World Barista Championship.

Call for 2014 Regional Hosts!

Posted: Tuesday, January 7, 2014

To all prospective Regional Barista Championship Hosts!The 2014 National Canadian Barista Championship will take place at The Canadian Coffee & Tea Show at the International Centre in Toronto, September 28 & 29, 2014.Last year’s host sponsors and local committees did a superb job in hosting and operating the events. The Canadian Barista Regional Sanctioning Committee (SC) hopes again to stimulate local sponsorship and a grassroots enthusiasm for the event by building a solid local foundation of sponsors, volunteers and other invested players.

Once again, we are asking for proposals from organizing committees to host this event. This is necessary to keep this whole process transparent and the events open to all. The bids will be open for all proposals until March 1, 2014. All proposals will be considered by the SC comprised of members of the Canadian Barista Academy, Fulcrum Events, the Coffee Association of Canada and the Canadian Head Judges Committee. The winning regional hosts will be notified by March 14, 2014.

We hope you are interested in again participating in these events. Remember, they can be as simple or elaborate as you make them. They are extremely time and energy rich events and many volunteer hands and hours are required. In this economy we must be wise with our expenditures. Although we must promote and put on a good show, we need to be prudent in deciding where dollars are spent. The purpose is to run a good fair contest. If we need to scale down to fit the budget, then we must do so.

Regardless, the priority for all funds raised must be for the competition.

Other issues such as publicity, advertising, audience experience, prizing, food, beverage, though very important will take a back seat in order to ensure that we have a proper, fair, and competent regional championship that will select winners to the nationals.

We would like to hear from you on your interest in hosting these events for 2014 and timelines. We ask that you form your committees, if you have not already. Please email the attached form by March 1, 2014, along with a budget and marketing plan for the event.

Fulcrum Media Inc.
Claire Kim
Please see this link for the full host agreement.

Canadian Barista Championships Stakeholder Feedback

The Canadian Barista Championships wishes to solicit feedback from all stakeholders (baristas, judges, volunteers, hosts, sponsors and the public).  Specific feedback related to the experience of stakeholders involved with recent competitions is welcome, in addition to comments or suggestions related to the competitions in general.

All comments are anonymous and will be held privately by the Head Judges Committee.  A feedback review process will take place in advance of the Canadian Coffee & Tea Show 2013 in order to determine an agenda of issues, topics and suggestions to be discussed in further detail by the community in a moderated session that will take place in October during the Canadian Coffee & Tea Show in Vancouver.

Input from the community is necessary to ensure the continued strength of the competitions.  Thank you for your feedback!

The link to the form is here:

UPDATE: Grinder Sponsor for 2013 Eastern and Prairie Regionals


Espresso Machines

Nuova Simonelli is again our official espresso machine sponsor for all 2013 Canadian barista competitions, and is providing Aurelia espresso machines. Portafilter baskets will be the stock Nuova Simonelli baskets.
(more model information : )

Mahlkonig is the official grinder sponsor for the 2013 Canadian National Barista Competition, being held at the Canadian Coffee & Tea Show in Vancouver, October 20-21st, 2013. Mahlkonig is generously supplying WBC model K30 Vario Espresso Grinders for the National Competition. Use of the K30 grinder will be required for the 2013 National Canadian Barista Championship (and will also be required for the Eastern and Prairie 2013 Regionals).
(more model information : )

Prairies Regional Announcement

We are very excited to announce that the Prairies Regional Barista Competition will be held in Red Deer AB, August 24-25th.

Competitor, Judge, and Volunteer registration is now open. To register, click the appropriate link above.

Competitor registration will be open until August 5, 2013. After this registration deadline, the schedule will be finalized and announced.

For all updates, look to

Central Regional Barista Registration

The Canadian Central Regional Barista Competition will be held on July 16-17 on the picturesque University of Toronto campus in downtown Toronto, at the Hart House.

Volunteer and Judge registration is now open. Follow the links above to register.

Competitor registration will open on June 4th, 2013 at 12 Noon, Eastern Time. Registration will close on July 3rd, 2013.

This is one of the most vibrant and in-demand regionals in the country, and there are 18 competitor spots available. As in years past, we will be following the waitlist/competitor-per-company procedure posted here :

We look forward to another exciting year finding the top 4 competitors to represent the Central Region at the Canadian Nationals in October 2013!

2013 Equipment Sponsors and Required CBC Grinder

Espresso Machines

Nuova Simonelli is again our official espresso machine sponsor for all 2013 Canadian barista competitions, and is providing Aurelia espresso machines. Portafilter baskets will be the stock Nuova Simonelli baskets.

(more model information : )


Mahlkonig is the official grinder sponsor for the 2013 Canadian National Barista Competition, being held at the Canadian Coffee & Tea Show in Vancouver, October 20-21st, 2013. Mahlkonig is generously supplying WBC model K30 Vario Espresso Grinders for the National Competition. Use of the K30 grinder will be required for the 2013 National Canadian Barista Championship (and will also be required for the Eastern and Prairie 2013 Regionals).

(more model information : )

Thanks For Making This Year’s Brewer’s Cup and Cup Taster’s Events a Success!

We (BrewersandTasters) will post more content, pictures and video later this week once we have gathered ourselves a bit from the amazing past couple of days!

For now though we would like to thank all of our volunteers who helped out with the event and congratulate to everyone who participated and the talented winners of both competitions.

For the Brewer’s Cup:
1st Place: Joshua Tarlo – Pig Iron Coffee Roasters in Missisauga, ON
2nd Place: Damien Zielinski – Capital Espresso in Toronto, ON
3rd Place: Keaton Ritchie – Cafe Myriade in Montreal, QC

For the Cup Taster’s:
1st Place: Benjamin Kim – 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters in Vancouver, BC
2nd Place: Sendy Phanthavong – Social Coffee Roasters in Richmond Hill, ON
3rd Place: Juhee Noh – Bibco Inc. in Toronto, ON

Please Note!

Updated Regional Dates; changes to Western Regional date and PRBC date announcement!

Central Regional Barista Competition   July 16-17 at The Hart House, Toronto ON

Eastern Regional Barista Competition   September 14-15, Victoriaville QC

Prairies Regional Barista Competition   August 24-25, at the Scott Block, Red Deer, AB

Western Regional Barista Competition  September 28-29 at Caffe Artigiano Roasting Works, Vancouver BC

Canadian National Barista Competition  October 20-21 at Vancouver Convention Centre, BC as part of the Canadian Coffee and Tea Show

2012 Western Canadian Regional Barista Championships

We are pleased to announce the final results of the 2012 Western Canadian Regional Barista Championship, held this past weekend June 1-3rd, at the Host Sponsor event, Eat Vancouver. It was a great weekend for all things culinary, as attendees got to sample the best of Vancouver food and drink, and watch the multitude of culinary championships held on various stages.

Over 30,000 Visitors to the newly renovated BC Place Stadium, witnessed a hotly contested event, as baristas battled nerves, and judges, to make 4 espressos, 4 cappuccinos, and 4 specialty drinks in 15 minutes. Congratulations to all involved and good luck to the top 4 finalists, who will go on to represent the Western Canadian Region at the national championship, Sept 9-10 in Toronto.

  1. Kyle Straw, 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters, Vancouver: 606.5 2 pts
  2. Grahame Bouvier, Fernwood Coffee, Victoria: 595.5 pts
  3. Alan Vuong, Caffe Artigiano, Vancouver: 528.0 pts
  4. James St. Clark, Kafka’s Coffee and Tea, Vancouver: 516.0 pts
  5. Tristan Mapstone, Discovery Coffee, Victoria: 508 pts
  6. Daniel Houghton, Cafe Motivo, Kamloops: 429.5 pts

**Top 4 Advance to nationals**

This is the first of 4 regional barista competitions to be held across Canada this year. For more details on the rest of 2012 Canadian Barista Championships competition schedule Please go to The Canadian Champion will go on to represent Canada at the World Championships in 2013, rumoured to be in Australia.

Round 1 Results: 2012 Western Canadian Regional Barista Championships

  1. Kyle straw49th Parallel Coffee Roasters, Vancouver: 623 pts
  2. Graham Bouvier,Fernwood Coffee, Victoria: 601.5 pts
  3. Tristan Mapstone, Discovery Coffee, Victoria: 504.5 pts
  4. Alan Vuong, Caffe Artigiano, Vancouver: 478.5 pts
  5. Daniel Houghton, Cafe Motivo, Kamloops: 440 pts
  6. James Saint Clark, Kafka’s Coffee and Tea, Vancouver: 440 pts
  7. Chris Naylor, Crema, Vancouver: 422 pts
  8. Julia Barber, Independant: 297 pts

2012 Canadian Western Regional Barista Championship

Barista Canada is proud to announce the first scheduled regional championships for 2012. The Western Regional Barista Championship will be held in Vancouver at the Eat! Vancouver Food + Cooking Festival at the newly renovated BC Place, June 1-3, 2012.

Participation at a regional competition is required in order to qualify for the national competition. The top four finishers at each regional competition will qualify to represent their region at the national level. The Canadian National Barista Championship will be held in Toronto at the Canadian Coffee and Tea Show, September 9 and 10, 2012. Winner of the National Barista Championship will represent Canada at the 2013 World Barista Championships.

Only 16 spots are available for the Western Regional and are limited to ONE per organization. All registration is on a first come, first serve basis. Surplus registrants will be put on a waiting list in order of receipt, in case of cancellation by original registrants.

Organizations can also submit a second competitor who will be placed on a separate waiting list. In the event any spots become available after the surplus waiting list is exhausted this list will be used to fill out the competitors list.

A registration fee, as per the Registration FAQ must be sent to secure registration in the competition.

Register at

Good luck baristas!

2012 Canadian Barista Regional Championships

This year four regional competitions will take place starting with the Western Regional in Vancouver, Central Regional in Toronto, Prairie Regional in Calgary and Eastern Regional in Victoriaville. The events will feature each region’s best baristas demonstrating the art of making the perfect espresso drinks and competing for the regional barista championship title.

The top three finalists in each regional will qualify for the Canadian National Barista Championship held at The Canadian Coffee & Tea Show in Toronto on September 9 & 10, 2012 at the International Centre, Toronto, Ontario.
During both the National and Regional competitions, each competitor will be expected to prepare and serve 12 separate espresso beverages: 4 espresso, 4 cappuccinos, and 4 “signature” drinks of their own creation. Competitors have only 15 minutes to prepare all 12 drinks and are judged on various elements including station cleanliness, taste, beverage presentation, technical skills and total impression by a distinguished panel of local judges from the foodservice industry.
The eventual winner of the Canadian National Championship will represent Canada at the 2013 World Barista Championship.
All the competitors will receive great prizes for participating as well as valuable experience.
The events are open to the public.
For information and to register to compete visit and
Canadian Regional Barista Championships Schedule:
Western Canadian Regional Barista Championship 
June 1-3, 2012

EAT! Vancouver
BC Place Stadium,
777 Pacific Boulevard,
Vancouver, BC
V6B 4Y8
Central Canadian Regional Barista Championship
July 24-25, 2012
St. Lawrence Market North
92 Front St. East
Toronto, ON
Prairie Canadian Regional Barista Championship
July 13-16
, 2012
Fratello Coffee Roasters
4021 9 St SE
Calgary, AB
T2G 3C7
Eastern Canadian Regional Barista Championship
August 10 & 11, 2012
Café Méridien
505 Boul. Jutras Est.,
Victoriaville, QC
G6P 7H4

Don’t miss the action brewing at the Canadian Central Regional Barista Competition & Coffee Expo

July 5 & 6, 2011

St. Lawrence Market North, Toronto

Coffee lovers are invited to attend the Canadian Central Regional Barista Competition & Coffee Expo. This year’s location, the historic St. Lawrence Market in downtown Toronto will feature the region’s best baristas demonstrate the art of making the perfect espresso drinks and compete for the regional barista championship  title and one of six spots that will take the finalists to the Canadian National Barista Championship in Vancouver in October.  The two day competition and Coffee fair will feature coffee and tea samples from local coffee roasters and distributors of coffee products, confections and allied products, as well as coffee cupping and latte art demonstrations.

Each competitor must prepare and serve 12 separate espresso beverages: 4 espresso, 4 cappuccinos, and 4 “signature” drinks of their own creation. Competitors have only fifteen minutes to prepare all twelve drinks and are judged on various elements including station cleanliness, taste, beverage presentation, technical skills and total impression by a distinguished panel of local judges from the foodservice industry. The eventual winner of the Canadian National Championship will represent Canadian at the 2012 World Barista Championship. All the competitors will receive some great prizes for participating as well as valuable skill building experience. The events are open to the public with admission a suggested donation to a Coffeekids, a registered charity, helping families build a better life in coffee growing countries.

For information visit

Canadian Central Regional Barista Competition & Coffee Expo
2- day Central Regional Barista Competition and Coffee Fair Event, open to the public and trade

Date: July 5-6, 2011
Time: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Daily (times subject to change)
Venue: St. Lawrence Market North, 92 Front St. East, Toronto, ON

For more information on the event and sponsorships, booths, special events and to volunteer send queries to:

2011 World Barista Championships – Live from Bogota

Earlier today was the announcement of the semi-finalists for the World Barista Championships, held in Bogota, Colombia.


10, Semi-Finalist, 557.5
11, Semi-Finalist, 547.5
12, Semi-Finalist, 547.5
13, Håkon Kinn, Norway, 541
14, Hide Kono, New Zealand, 540.5
15, AnneStine Bae, Denmark, 538
16, Rob Kettner, Canada, 548.5 – 13 second time penalty = 535.5 

It was that close.

Yesterday, our Canadian Champion Rob Kettner, delivered a performance of 548 points, that would have put him into 11th place and through to the semi-finals amongst the top 12.

But a time violation of 13 seconds, relegated Rob to 535.5 points and 16th place, thus out of the competition.

It hurts to come so close, and it is easy to start all the second guessing, but there is no reason to be disappointed with this result. I’m so proud of Rob and the team.

Against all odds, this small little roaster, Fernwood Coffee, from Victoria BC, packed up practically their entire company to South America… just to do battle on our behalf.

Fernwood managed to claw their way over 37 other countries, and proved that they belonged amongst the best in the world, amidst the high altitude backdrop of Bogota Colombia.

We almost touched the sky.

(Email post from Les from Bogota)

Rules and regulations of competition

Competition rules are available from the World Barista Championship website. Scoresheets are also available at the same page.

Central Regional Cup Tasting Competition

Toronto, St. Lawrence Market, July 6

Cup Tasting Competition is a fun and exciting event.  It showcases the coffee cuppers’ ability to demonstrate their speed, skill and accuracy in distinguishing the taste differences in specialty coffees.

Three participants at a time taste coffees arranged in eight triangle set (groups of three). In each triangle, two cups are identical, one is different. Using skills of smell, taste, memory and concentration, the competitor will try to identify the odd cup in the triangles, in the shortest time possible. After eight minutes, the round stops and the competitor discovers how many correct they have selected, by lifting their selections to reveal whether or not there is a mark on the bottom of the cup.

12 competitors compete in 4 heats (3 competitor s per heat)

Top 3 competitors advance to the final round. Competitor with the most correct selection in the least amount of time wins.


The entry cost per competitor is $25.  To register as a competitor, please email to with your name, phone number, company


First place winner will receive $250 and some great coffees

Second place winner will receive $100 and some great coffees

Third place winner will receive $50 some great coffees


You will gain great experience as volunteer, plus there will be goodies and prizes for the volunteers. 

To volunteer please email or call Steve at 416-848-0718 X91

Coffees Sponsor

All Coffee Roasters, We would love to get your support for the event.  This is a great event to feature your coffee and your company.   The sponsorship cost is $150 plus two coffees for the competition, 8lb of each coffee.   Please also provide the information and tasting notes for your coffee submitted. For sponsorship please contact or  416-848-0718 x91 with your name, phone number, and company

Bonus event!  Open (to show attendees)  Cup Taster event July 5

Open to all show attendees.  It’s a  fun, casual event, allowing the spectators to participate in the fun.  It will help them acquire the experience for future Cup Tasting Competition.
The format will be the same as the cup taster competition but with 4 set triangulation rather than 8 sets.
There will be some goodies and give away for the participants.  No registration necessary, spaces are limited!

Eastern Regional Barista Championship – July 23!

Schedule of Events: 2011 Eastern Canadian Regional Barista Championship

Location: Brulerie Limoilou
501 3rd Ave.,
Quebec City, QC G1J 2V4
Map to Brulerie Limoilou

For live internet feed 9am-5pm EST, go to and search for
“Canadian Barista Quebec”

July 22nd  Friday Setup and Judges training
9am – 12pm Judge calibration “theory”
11am : event setup, machines booths

12am-12h45 Lunch 

1pm-4pm Judges calibration, Mock Performances once machines are running
4pm-5pm  Competitor Practice time Round 1 (30 minutes each)
5pm -6pm  Competitor Meeting 
6pm-7pm Competitor practice time Round 2

July 23rd Saturday Free admission to the Public
8am -9am Judges Calibration
8am-8:30 am Volunteer meeting 
9am: start of competition  Doors open:  Competitors 1-4

12pm-1pm lunch break-
1pm-end of competition
Judges deliberation
2pm-4pm  Latte art throwdown alternating with Brewers Cup, Seminar/tasting with Kerry Rep.
4pm-4:30pm Award ceremony

5pm – Happy hour: beer, wine munchie for competitor and their team, sponsors and us

2011 national competition registration available

Registration is now available for the 2011 Canadian National Barista Championships to be held at the Canadian Coffee and Tea Show, October 2-3 at the Vancouver Convention Centre in Vancouver, BC.

This competition is restricted to only those who placed in the top four of their regional barista championships in 2011.

Judge and volunteer registration is also available for those interested.

All registration links are posted above. Submitting the form goes to a document directly, confirmation emails will be sent when the organizing committee is able to review information.

Regional competition dates

Central Regional Barista Championship – July 5-6 – St. Lawrence Market, Toronto ON

Eastern Regional Barista Championship – July 22-23 – La Brûlerie Limoilou, Québec QC

Prairie Regional Barista Championship – August 6 – Fratello Coffee, Calgary AB

Western Regional Barista Championship – August 27-28 – Crystal Gardens, Victoria BC

National Barista Championship – October 2-3 – Vancouver Convention Center, Vancouver BC

A weekend of Cowboy Coffee…

September 17, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — canadianbarista @ 12:31 pm

Just recovering from a great weekend in Calgary. So many things to mention. First of all, hats off to Fratello Coffee who turned over their entire operation to the event. Basically we were in the warehouse, but with the drape, and chairs, you sorta forgot that you were sitting amongst warehouse racking. The best thing about the facility is that everything was there. Photocopiers, printers, bathrooms, kitchen, LCD screens, dishwashers etc.. everything for us to use.

Yes it was crowded, and yes the lighting wasn’t as good as we would have liked it to be, but most the baristas commented that it was nice to be in a facility that actually involved coffee… it felt.. authentic.

Andrew Legg the emcee/actor/comedian/and a kick-ass barista in his own right, did a stellar job as emcee. In case you missed it, Andrew may have made coffee history by organizing the first live internet streaming broadcast of thumb-wrestling for schwag.. it was a great moment.

Head judge Andrea Piccolo was universally lauded for the job she did steering the ship. In what turned out to be the most competitive region in Canada, Andrea managed to lasso and wrangle the judges, keeping them focused and calibrated. This was essential as the margin between 1st and 5th was only 30 points. Fantastic job Andrea…

Volunteers… we can’t thank you enough. From bussers, to runners, to dishwashers, cameramen, timekeepers, station cleaners.. none of this works without your support.

But the best thing of all was the fact that we had competitors being judged by rival cafes, roasters, etc.. Noone doubted the integrity of the judges, and their ability to remain objective, despite having a competitor of their own in the contest. This was mostly due to the fact that everyone just wanted the region to pick the best and the brightest, to send to the nationals. A strong performance in the nationals would mean that the entire region would benefit from the media coverage/publicity.

No wonder that the top six in the Prairies had the highest average score in all the regions.

Let’s see if the other regions can get it together in time for nationals.

For all the scores, go to

Okay.. I have three weeks to prepare for nationals now… If you want to volunteer, let me know. We can always use the help

2009 Prairie Regional Canadian Barista Championships Results (PRBC)

1. 632 pts Ben Put , Phil & Sebastian Coffee

2. 628.5 pts Joel May, Fratello Coffee

3. 628 pts Chad Moss, Transcend Coffee

4. 607 pts Josh Hockin, Transcend Coffee

5. 602.5 pts Michael Tam, Phil & Sebastian Coffee

6. 476 pts Jimmy Oneschuk, Musee

Fantastic event, awesome volunteers, 6 Mac Laptops crashed from ustream.

Fantastic competition

2009 Prairie Regional Canadian Barista Championships SEPT 12

September 8, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — canadianbarista @ 8:03 pm

Last Canadian Regional of the year… Can the Prairie region repeat it’s performance last year, where three of the six finalists in the Canadian Nationals were from the prairies.

Join us for live streaming, from the inner recesses of fratello coffee , as the baristas battle it out.


August 31, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — canadianbarista @ 3:36 pm


1. Kyle Straw  Caffe Artigiano                     628

2. Spencer Viehweger   jj bean                   624

3. Derek Lukas  Buon Amici                        608.5

4. Robert Kettner Fernwood Coffee            599

5. Ian Sudbek-Reid  Habit                            474.5

  1. John Ohrn  Hines /origins coffee             465

BC Ferries…Carpools.. etc.. on the eve of the Western Regional

August 28, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — canadianbarista @ 4:38 pm

Hi everyone.  Use the comments here to arrange your carpools for ferry crossings..etc.   Make sure you check your travel arrangements with  1-888-223-3779.

You can make reservations but you need to be there 1/2 hour in advance.  There is park and ride, and you can have a cool buffet breakfast on board 16.95 …

Hopefully everyone can coordinate their travel and we can have these caravans of baristas heading across the ocean to Victoria.



Western Regional Barista Championship, August 29,30

August 18, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — canadianbarista @ 10:18 am

August 29,30 at:

Da Vinci Center
195 Bay Street
Victoria, BC V9A 3K4
(250) 383-8041


Contest will run from 9-5  August 29, and 9-3 August 30  Pacific Standard time, PST

Live Streaming:

Schedule of events:

Competitor list as of August 19

Kathleen Greenfield Discovery Coffee Victoria
John Ohrn Hines Public Market Vancouver
Ian Sudbeck-Reid Habit Coffee & Culture Victoria
Ken Gordon Street Level Espresso Victoria
Robert Kettner Fernwood Coffee Company Victoria
Miriam Cook Baked Cafe Whitehorse
Spencer Viehweger JJ Bean Coffee Roasters Vancouver
Steven Gilmet JJ Bean Coffee Roasters Vancouver
Garrath Morgan Canterbury Coffee Victoria
Chantel Welsh Salt Spring Coffee Company Salt Spring Island
Kyle Straw Cafe Artigiano Vancouver
Derek Lukas Buon Amici Victoria
George Giannakis crema cafe Vancouver

British Columbia’s and the Yukon’s best baristas battle it out to see who will wear the crown vacated by 2008 Western Canadian Champion, Sammy Piccolo.  Last year Sammy went on to win Gold at the Canadian Nationals, and Silver in the World Barista Championship.  Who will fill his shoes?

Hosted by Reg Barber and Machine & Beans, this is the first time the event has been held in Victoria.   The top three will advance to the 2009 Canadian National Barista Championships , Oct 14,15 in Vancouver.

Come watch as the mainlanders invade Vancouver Island.

Eastern Regional Barista Championships, August 23rd

August 10, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — canadianbarista @ 8:32 pm

August 23rd at:

Just for laughs theatre
2101 St Laurent
Montréal, QC H2X 2T5
(514) 845-3155

Contest will run from 10-3pm EST


It’s a great venue, there will be lots of things to see, and take part in.  The best baristas in eastern Canada face off in Canada’s iconic comedy theater, only there’s nothing funny about this… this is serious coffee..

***If you haven’t registered yet do it now, Registration is about to be closed.  For the Eastern Regional only,  there are a limited number of  available spots , if you want to register additional baristas, you may do so on a first come first served basis, until all the remaining spots are filled. 

Register online at , not on this blog.

This will be a one day event, Baristas you will recieve your schedule of events information shortly.  But here is a brief temporary schedule

Saturday, August 22

Competitor Meeting 4 pm.on  at the Just for Laughs Loft on the 5th floor. At this time you can bring your supplies for storage at the event for the next day. However, there is no security, even though the centre will be locked after we leave, so we are not responsible for missing items. If you don’t feel comfortable leaving your things overnight then bring them the next. day. Carts will be available.

August 23 , Sunday Day of the Championship.

Contest will run from 10-3pm EST


It’s been a while…..

Rare Canadian Loonie Latte

Filed under: Uncategorized — canadianbarista @ 8:44 pm

First of all,  a billion apologies for not keeping up with this blog.  I have a million excuses, and some pretty good believable explanations… but I’ll spare you all those and will just say that I hope to make this blog more of a regular thing.

One of my mandates has been to involve more people into building the culture around the competitions, and as such I sorta hoped others would start their own blogs to finish what this Canadian Barista blog had started.

Those of you who know me, know that I’ve not been idle in the coffee world, as the past year+ has kept me very busy… so busy that I’ve had to scale down some of my coffee exploits.

But I will try to maintain this blog,  ( but in reality I will be delegating/blackmailing certain people to take some of the load)

On that note, I am pleased to announce that the regional championships have been given to the local communities to further develop.  Steering/organizing committees have been set up in the Eastern, Central, Prairie and Western regions to help find sponsorship, involve cafes and their baristas, and beat the bushes for volunteers.

The rationale behind this was to allow the locals to create partnerships with local businesses.  This is a far better solution than the Canadian Barista Academy trying to do this from outside your communities.   The idea is to create local coffee “events”, that will attract the general public, but mostly it is to showcase the state of the local coffee scene.

Sort of like separation of church and state, we’ve decided to separate the economics of the event from the running of the event itself.

That being said, the Canadian Barista Academy is still creating sponsorship opportunities for the regionals, and is running the actual contest.  All judges must go through training, certification, and the stage setups, scorekeeping  etc are firmly in the Academy’s hands.  This way we keep an impartiality in the judging process, and the steering committees are free to pursue sponsorship without fear of bias.

Fulcrum Events, the host of the Nationals,  October 14/15th in Vancouver, is sponsoring the regionals both financially and with infrastructure/support staff.  I hope everyone can make it to the nationals,  I know it’s going to be one of the best nationals ever.

There will be more to come in future posts, including some opportunities for baristas to pay their expenses if they come to the Vancouver Coffee Tea Show…  if you are willing to work in booths, making drinks to serve the public, let me know!

Okay.  I better go get some coffee..



2009 in a nutshell..

August 8, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — canadianbarista @ 9:35 pm

Where to begin?  So much has happened this past year, and we’re just BEGINNING our 2009 competition season.

Sammy Piccolo… came out of retirement, knocked off the rust in the Canadian Nationals last November in Montreal…  then did us proud by losing a squeaker to those brits…  Silver Medal!!

This makes Sammy the most decorated barista ever… three silvers and a bronze, in four events gives him the highest slugging percentage ever.

I was lucky enough to be allowed behind the scenes in Sammy’s training for Atlanta this year.   Usually I only relegate myself to doing some trial judging of Sammy’s performance in the weeks prior to the competition, as I always tried to maintain a separation from baristas I might judge in the future.

But this year I decided to step away from the judging circles and let the new crop of WBC certified judges take the lead.  This allowed me to going into the Sammy Piccolo/ Artigiano inner sanctum, and I got to see first hand how a champion trains for competition.  I accompanied Team Piccolo to Atlanta, and got so wrapped up in things that I missed the meeting with WBC hemisphere coordinator Roukiat Delrue  (Sorry Roukie!!)

Maybe we can get Sammy to do an article for the blog about the run to Atlanta ( subtle hint)

Atlanta could be a whole book by itself.  It was a great weekend.

Speaking of great weekends, I just came back last month from the first regional this year, the Central , held at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto.

Despite a tight schedule, an uncooperative macbook, some sound issues, bandwidth issues it was a highly competitive event.  Judges, baristas, volunteers all worked to put on the best contest possible, culminating in a victory by Chris Tellez of Espresso Post in Collingwood.

Chris showed he was the most polished ( and the most practised , based on the after comments of the competitors), so he definitely deserved the crown.

His espresso shone well on the cool green WBC competition Aurelias,  as he cruised in just ahead of  Sam James  of the soon-to-be opened Sam James Coffee House, and Momiji Kishi of Dark Horse Espresso, both in Toronto.

Fellow Torontonians, Ivonne Ramirez of Dolce Gelato & Cafe, and Adam Vrankulj of Grinder, placed 4th and 5th respectively, and will be entered in the wildcard draw of all 4th and 5th placed finishers for one of four wildcard spots available at the nationals in Vancouver. Good luck!

The place was packed to capacity which means we have outgrown it. This is a good thing.

Okay.. that’s it for now,  just a reminder for those in the East and West, if you haven’t registered for your regional competitions yet, DO IT NOW!!!! NOW!!!

We will be closing off registration very soon.



Ying and Yang heart..


2008 Canadian Regional Barista Championships

Espresso Enthusiasts invited to 2008 Canadian Regional Barista Championships

Toronto, ON (April 9, 2008) Coffee enthusiasts from across Canada will be gathering to watch some of the country’s best baristas (espresso machine operators) at the 2008 Canadian Regional Barista Championships. Four regional competitions to be held in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver have been announced beginning with the Prairies Regional Barista Championship in Calgary on May 24 & 25, 2008. Masters of the espresso machine from around the country will be competing for the coveted title of Barista Champion in each region.

Each competitor must prepare and serve 12 separate espresso beverages: 4 espresso, 4 cappuccinos, and 4 “signature” drinks of their own creation. Competitors have only fifteen minutes to prepare all twelve drinks and are judged on various elements including station cleanliness, taste, beverage presentation, technical skills and total impression by a distinguished panel of judges.

A few weeks later, the Eastern Regional Barista Championship will take place in Montreal on June 9 & 10, 2008, followed by the Central Regional Barista Championship on July 18 & 19, 2008 at the Queen Elizabeth Building, CNE in Toronto and the Western Regional Barista Championship on August 15 & 16, 2008 in Vancouver, BC.

The first place, second and third place winners of each competition will secure a place at the Canadian Barista Championship to be held October 21 & 22, 2008 at the Canadian Coffee & Tea Show in Montreal. The eventual winner of the championship will represent Canada in the World Barista Championship (WBC) in Atlanta, USA in 2009.

Spectators are encouraged to visit the displays of the event’s sponsors and sample some of the newest coffee and tea products on the market. All the competitors will receive some great prizes for participating as well as valuable experience. The events are open to the public and admission is by donation to the CoffeeKids charity, helping families build a better life in coffee growing countries.

In conjunction with the events, the Canadian Barista & Coffee Academy will also offer hand-on barista training for those new to the industry or those who want to perfect their skills.

As the premier regional event in Canada, organizers are encouraging baristas from cafes and restaurants to sign up. The Canadian Barista Championship is endorsed by the Coffee Association of Canada and the WBC.

The regionals’ host sponsors include Espuccino Imports, Espresso Mali, Zuccarini and ECM Espresso. Additional sponsors of the event are Gerhards, Monin, Oregon Chai, Ghiradelli, Jet Smoothies, Pacific Soy, Cappuccino King, Coag, and Toi, Moi & Café. Krups is the Canadian Barista Championship’s Host sponsor.

For information and to register, visit the website or or call Vida Radovanovic

2008 Canadian Barista Championship Calendar

March 27, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — canadianbarista @ 9:26 pm

Hi everyone.   Sorry for the long time between updates, but it’s been busy since the nationals.

It’s almost time for our 2007 Champion, Mike Yung, from caffe artigiano, to head to Copenhagen to represent us at the WBC.   Those of you who got to see Mike’s performance in the CNBC finals last year, can only hope that Mike will be able to pull off something similar in Copenhagen.     GO  CANADA!

Okay.. the 2008 Schedule.  It’s not all official yet, there still might be some minor tweaks, but that will only affect a few regionals by a day or two, but I wanted to circulate these dates now, so that baristas can begin to train.

Two major news items for this year:

1.  Regionals will be mandatory.   This means that you cannot just enter the nationals, you must qualify through your regional competitions.  The exact details of the qualification procedure will be announced shortly.

2.  There will be 4 regionals this year.   The coffee communities in Alberta and Quebec have stepped up to the plate and are willing to show that they are deserving of their own regionals.   Let’s do what we can to make sure that these new territories start off on the right foot.  This means that we need all of the coffee community on board, not just including the baristas.   We need all hands on deck to make the new regions a success.  This is the industry’s showcase to the public, to the media, to coffee consumers.

I believe that if we can show everyone else out there the comraderie, the culture, the common grounds that drive us, what it means to be a barista, why the craft is so important, and the dedication that goes into serving customers the best drink of their day, every day…. then I think we will have success.

It’s not just about the winning, it’s about this community of like-minded professionals who want to push the limits of coffee, to as far as it will stretch.

Good luck baristas in 2008!

2008 Preliminary Schedule ( subject to revision)

Nationals are a 2 day event Oct 21,22.  Maximum Competitors allowed will be 16.  All contestants must qualify via Regional Championships

4 confirmed regionals this year,  Registration details will be posted soon


Calgary – May 24 & 25  at Espuccino ( Alberta, Sask, Man)

Montreal – June 9 & 10 Either At Cafe Mystique Roasters or other

 ( Ottawa eastward, Quebec, PEI, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia Newfoundland)

Toronto – July 18 & 19 (At the  Drinks Show exhibition center East Ontario, to,  but not including Ottawa)

Vancouver – Aug 15 & 16 (Venue could either be Heritage hall, or the drinks show at Trade and Convention Center ( BC only)

The three territories, Yukon, North West and Nunavut will compete in the regionals that are closest by distance.


September 11, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — canadianbarista @ 10:46 am

For those of you yet unaware of the schedule, you will receive your competition times via email once they are finalized.  The competition will consist of one round Sunday, for all competitors except for the regional champions, who have a bye for the finals.   The finals will be on Monday,  and the top six from Sunday, along with the two regional champions will fight it out for the title of Canadian National Barista Champion.

You will receive your scheduled practise ( Saturday evening) , warmup ( Sunday Morning) and competition times shortly, so keep an eye on your email in boxes.

2007 Canadian National Barista Championships.. SOLD OUT!

August 22, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — canadianbarista @ 7:34 pm

Yes.. it’s official.  We are booked up.   What a difference from last year, when, even with the excitement of a celebrity contestant, Bob Blummer and the food network filming an episode,  we were still struggling for competitors.  In the end, our 2006 Champion Colter Jones, represented us well at the world’s in Tokyo, missing out on the finals by just half a point.

Looks like this year, he is really going to have a fight on his hands.  We are fully booked.  If you haven’t registered yet, I am afraid there is just no more room.  Put your name in all the same in case people drop out, but there is already a waiting list.  ( this is why you should listen to Les when he says… REGISTER EARLY!).

Next year, we will be putting in a new system to determine who can compete in the Nationals,  based on making the regionals mandatory.  More details to come.

The bottom line is, the playing field is becoming more level, and more competitive.  This should be a great Nationals.    As we speak, I am working with a real budget for audio video.  Our stage set up should be the best ever for a nationals.    Tommorrow I will pack up all the judges’ tables, machine tables and chairs, and ship them to Toronto.  Do to the hard work over the years by Vida Radovanovic, our fearless leader and WBC Sanctioned representative, we have a show kit that will be shipped from province to province for regional championships.  This will give us a uniform standard for regionals.   Schedules for 2008 events will be announced before the end of 2007.  Look for a few new events.

I am also putting the call out now for volunteers for the 2007 Nationals in Toronto.  I cannot offer you airfare or accommodations, but I can offer you free passes to the trade show in Toronto and seminar access.   Let me know if you will be in the Toronto area September 16-17th., or email at the site.

If there are any usbc, or WBC judges travelling to the area at that time, let us know.  We always try to utilize outside guest judges.

That’s all for now…

Western Canadian Regionals… aftermath

Filed under: Uncategorized — canadianbarista @ 7:14 pm

It’s been a week since the regionals, and I’m still sifting through scoresheets, verifying, checking etc.  I will be sending out copies of scoresheets to all the competitors this week.  If you want to arrange to come pick them up just email or call me. Otherwise they are going in the mail.

I just want to thank all the competitors for a fantastic display of support for the event.  We capped the event at 12 competitors, because that was all that our schedule allowed.  We stuck to our guns and reluctantly turned away some competitors, but we had to work with the capacity that our pool of judges and volunteers allowed.  Next year, the regionals will be compulsory, so no more ” I’ll wait for the nationals”.  We will have a special ranking system to ensure that we have good geographical representation, but more importantly, that we form the most competitive field possible for our national championship.

I would like to thank all the volunteers who helped out this year,  there are too many to name, and I don’t want to single out any, in fear of missing someone.  But those of you who either helped to bus, to scorekeep, to time, to make phonecalls, to order pizza, to change water jugs, to get milk, to pedal blender bikes, to hand out flyers, to man the 4th machine… you get the drift…. there are so many things involved in this event… the real stars are the volunteers, and I want to thank you all.

The results are final, the top six unchanged.

1.  Derek Lucas Buon Amici’s coffee                 541 points

2.  Logan  Gray Discovery Coffee                      540

3.  Ken Gordon Habit Coffee and Culture        479
4.  Cady Wu Wicked Cafe                                    468

5.  Brette Richard 2% Jazz                                   458

6.  Zachary Simon Habit Coffee and Culture    449

7.  Tiffany Malley 2% Jazz                                    440 tie

7.  Paul Reimer Discovery Coffee                       440 tie

8.  Ryan Crawford Blenz                                       426.5

9.  Layla Osburg Blenz                                           366

10.Donald Wilson Soma                                       DQ’d, over time

11. Stefan Morales                                                  DNF

All in all,  one of our closest regionals ever.  I want to specifically thank all the first time competitors.  It’s not easy to stand up there and compete in front of 7 judges, never mind the audience.  The fact that you put yourself on the line means you’ve earned my respect.  It’s always difficult the first time.  I’m sure if you ask our new western regional champion, Derek Lucas, his first time was probably the hardest thing he’s done in coffee.  But the key is he got past it.  Nobody died.

The confidence Derek gained from previous competitions was the deciding factor this year, as his polish, poise and presentation skills put him ahead of the field to stay.  The performance I saw last Tuesday from Derek, was miles ahead of the pitcher shaking,  quivering voice barista I saw the first time.  If  I remember correctly, the first year Derek competed,  he was actually attending our barista skills seminars the day before.  The practice and training Derek has put on since then, showed last Tuesday.

Next time register early, okay Derek?

That being said, Logan’s performance was exceptional,  the one point difference meant it was basically a coin flip.  Either one of these two would have made great champions, and I’m glad that we will see Logan at the Nationals in September 16/17.

Ken Gordon, your performance and demeanor was great.   The judges loved your presentation and image.  You are on the waiting list for Toronto, and I hope you get in, but as everyone knows by now, the nationals are overbooked, and we are trying to find a way to get everyone a  spot, but the logistics may mean some competitors will have to wait for next year.
A big hand to Victoria for sweeping our top three.

A round of thanks to all our sponsors.  Without them we would be having these contests in my basement using one of my franken-spresso machines, with a rolled up cone of newspaper for a sound system.  We are grateful for the support of Nuova Simonelli and ECM, our official Western Regional and National Machine sponsors.  They do more than just provide the machines as the technical support they provide, and logistics support make the event possible.  This year they made two Aurelia machines available for barista practise at Origins coffee, and at 49th Parallel roasters.  The Mythos Grinder and the Aurelia have proven to be a potent tandem, both in competition and in the cafe setting.  I did notice some improper flushing techniques being used however, ( this is why you need to attend practise sessions, competitors!) and I will address these issues in a later post.

I would like to also thank CoffeeGeek and City Foods Magazine for their media support, next year is our break through year to reach the general public.  Thank you Mark and Rhonda May for your support. I truly believe that this event can be the pinnacle event for coffee afficionados  in BC, and next year we should see this event grow from just a coffee competition, to a coffee celebration. ( coffee-xtravaganza? coffee-paloosa??)

Thanks to Kerry Food & Beverages, their support from year to year has been unwaivering.   Plus we all love the Kerry girl.   Thanks to Origins Coffee, ( John Sanders, Bronwen,  et al), their contribution towards the winner’s airfare, and the use of their training facility on Granville Island are invaluable.  Island Farms, has always come through for us, and all the baristas appreciate the opportunity to use a truly quality milk.  Reg Barber, as always many thanks.  I am looking forward to “bobby’s” replacement as the national trophy.  Thanks for coming out Reg, and supporting the barista community in Canada from coast to coast, like you do every year.

Espresso Specialist supply is our official sponsor of the Canadian Barista Academy.  They provide all the essentials for start up cafes, so if you haven’t browsed their site yet, I would do so ASAP.  It’s not just about having the tools, it’s about having the right tools.  There is just something about having the right barista timer, and the right kind of cleaning brush.  I mean, you could theoretically use a meat thermometer to steam milk, but…..

Thanks to Baron from Mahlkonig Canada for making their  espresso grinder available for the baristas to use.  There was much interest in the grinder that World Champion James Hoffman used to claim the crown in Tokyo this year.  Auto dosing or electronically controlled dosing grinders seem to be the rage this year.   I will do a later post about the ES 30, the Simonelli Mythos, and other autodosing grinders.

Special thanks to  Amanda from Saeco for lending us some display props,  donating some volunteer prizes and loaning us their sales rep, Douglas Kincaid.  Douglas was our invaluable scorer this year, and king of the spreadsheet that Phil from Phil & Sebastion coffee company created last year ( it worked perfectly Phil!)  And finally thanks to Norco,  for the tables.  I want to give a special plug to “our community bikes” or  .  For those of you who didn’t see the show, pedal power displayed and demonstrated bicycle powered coffee grinders, and were whipping up frappaccinos on a bicycle powered blenderblenders.  Go to their site or bring down your bikes for repairs to their workshop, where proceeds go towards recycling bicycles for the needy.

And finally, thanks to Alistair from the Elysian Room for setting up the Clover Booth,  and for providing the essentials  ( beer ). ( bubba says thanks).  Alistair, along with Kevin Bravaro from Swiss water decaf, Murray Inkster from JJbean, and Billy Wilson, the out of town visiting judge from the Albina Press in Portland ( and Northwest USBC champion),  sucked it up and sat through 12 straight sensory rounds…awesome..

My fellow technical judges, Arthur Wynn from wicked Cafe and Alex Arc, another out of towner, from the black drop cafe in Bellingham Washington, did a commendable job.

And lastly, a special thanks for our head judge,  Aaron DeLazzer,  of ethical bean.  Aaron and his lovely wife are expecting their first child any time now;  I was waiting for the beeper to go off during the competition.  Despite this pressure, Aaron not only  oversaw this event, but spearheaded the Sunrise Jam also.   I think this dedication to coffee earns you the right to bypass the Canadian Nationals, although you will be missed.

Okay .. it’s onto the Nationals.

Winners Announced for the Third Annual Canadian Western Regional Barista Competition

The battle for the Best Barista in the West has been determined at the third annual Eastern Region Canadian Barista Championship held on August 15, 2007 at Heritage Hall in Vancouver.

Derek Lucas, from Buon Amici’s Coffee in Victoria, BC., took the title of Western
Regional Barista Champion. He won a trip to the finals of the Canadian National Barista
Championship to be held at the Toronto Congress Centre September 16-17, 2007.
The event celebrates the skills of the barista; the consummate artist of the espresso
machine. In competition, baristi have 15 minutes to prepare four servings each of
espresso, cappuccino and a signature drink of their own invention for a panel of judges.
The audience was thrilled to experience the energy and excitement created by 12
competitors from across British Columbia all vying for the title of Western regional
barista champion.
“This event was met with enthusiastic competitors and provided the audience with an
opportunity to learn about the high level of skill it takes to make a proper espresso
beverage,” says event organizer, Les Kuan of the Canadian Barista & Coffee Academy.
The Canadian National Barista Championship is open to both novices and seasoned
operators alike, and some fabulous prizes are available to be won – including the
winner’s trip to the 2008 World Barista Championship in Copenhagen The 2007 World
Championship took place in Tokyo, and Canada was represented by our current national
champion, Colter Jones of Caffe Artigiano in Vancouver.
The regional competitions were organized by the Canadian Barista & Coffee Academy
which also offers hands-on Barista Basics & Espresso Training and Advanced Barista
Training & Latte Art and Barista Jams in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. The
Academy will be offering more barista training classes in September in Toronto.
Donations at the event went to the Coffee Kids charity helping children & their families
in coffee producing regions to improve the quality of their lives
Top Six 2007 Western Regional Barista Championship Competitors and their scores and
1. Derek Lucas, Buon Amici’s Coffee, Victoria BC Score: 541
2. Logan Gray, Discovery Coffee, Victoria: 540
3. Ken Gordon, Habit Coffee & Culture,Victoria: 479
4. Katie Wu, Wicked Cafe, Vancouver 468
5. Brette Richard, 2% Jazz, Victoria: 458
6. Zachary Simon, Habit Coffee & Culture, Victoria: 449
For more information visit or call 416 784-5210

Canadian Barista & Coffee Academy Presents Western Region Canadian Barista Competition

July 4, 2007 — The Canadian Barista & Coffee Academy will present the Canadian Western Regional Barista Competition and Training Workshops on August 14-15, 2007 at Heritage Hall in  Vancouver, BC. The event celebrates the skills of the barista; the consummate artist of the espresso machine. Some of Canada’s top “espresso bartenders” will compete for the regional title and a spot in the finals at the National Barista Championships to be held in Toronto in September.

The competition features baristi preparing a series of espresso based beverages in a very tight window of time for a discerning panel of official coffee judges. Judges rate the competitors on taste, design, speed, showmanship and creativity.

The Canadian Barista Academy will also offer hand-on training for those new to the industry or those who want to perfect their skills. Workshops offered include: Barista Basics & Espresso Training and Advanced Barista Training & Latte Art. A cupping workshop will also be offered. The training takes place on August 14, followed by the Western Regional Competition on August 15.

As the premier regional event in Canada, organizers are encouraging baristi from cafes and restaurants to sign up. The competition is open to both novices and seasoned operators alike, and some fabulous prizes are available to be won. The competition is open to the public and will run from 12 p.m. – 6 p.m. at Heritage Hall in Vancouver. It will feature a coffee and tea fair with table top displays where visitors can see and sample new products from the event’s sponsors. Proceeds from coffee sales will go to the Coffee Kids charity helping children and their families in coffee growing countries improve their quality of life. The event is open to the public. Doors open at noon.

The Western Regional Canadian Barista Championship sponsors are ECM, Nuova Simonelli espresso machines and Mahlkonig Canada

Other sponsorship opportunities are still available. Call today.



April 30, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — canadianbarista @ 5:49 am

It’s been a few weeks now, the judges/organizers have put away their stop watches and pencils.  Competitors have gone from putting the final touches of their specialty drinks to putting sleeves on takeout cups.

Now that everyone has had a chance to digest things a little bit, it’s time for performance reviews.  Those who wish it, may sign up for an autopsy of their performances.  This can be done either via this forum, email or even video conference.  We will have at least 2 judges available via web conference.  Please email or blog your interest.

The nationals will be coming up September, so for those preparing for the big event, there is much work to be done.  I am pleased with the progress Eastern Canadian competitors have made over these last few years.  However at the nationals, the bar will be raised higher, and the routines that placed well a few weeks ago, might be overwhelmed at the nationals.

For those of you who will attend the USBC at Long Beach next week,  May 4-8,  you will see first hand the state of the barista arts south of the border.   Canada has always fared well globally, but that’s only because our 3 time national champion, Sammy Piccolo, always looked outside canada to experience the best and the brightest of the coffee world.

Bottom line, if you  plan to compete in the nationals in September, may want to step up their game.  No better time to begin planning than right now.

Girrl power at the Eastern Regionals…

April 17, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — canadianbarista @ 8:23 am

It was a long day of competition and judging at the Steam Whistle Brewing company.  In the end, it was the women who ruled the day, locking down the top three spots  at the Eastern Canadian Regional Barista Championships in Toronto, Here are the OFFICIAL RESULTS:
1st place:  Kimberly Stavely  ( Matter of taste)                    570.5 pts
2nd place:  Dawn Tran ( Matter of taste)                             540.5
3rd place :  Tie –
Ivonne Ramirez ( Dolce Cafe), Cathy So ( Avenue Cafe’)        516.5
4th place:   Matthew Taylor ( Mercury Organics)                    509
5th place:   Samuel James ( Cherry Bomb)                           452
6th place:   Chris Tellez (Espresso Post)                              444
7th place:   Alex Tran (Mercury Organics)                             434
8th place:   Michael Empacher ( F’coffee)                             338
9th place:   Elias Vlastis ( C.E. Organics)                             313.5
10th place: Chris Wilson ( Journo)                                       161.5
*Disqualified,  over time  Matthew Lee ( Manic Coffee)

Congratulations to all the competitors, for a job well done!   It was great to see the comraderie in the fact of all the intense competition.  A special thanks to all the sponsors, for recognizing how important baristas are to the coffee industry.  Without the coordinated efforts of sponsors, volunteers and suppliers,  this coffee celebration event would not happen. Thanx….   LK

ERBC 2007

Winners Announced for the third Annual Canadian Eastern Regional Barista Competition

The battle for the Best Barista in the East has been determined at the third annual Eastern Region Canadian Barista Championship held on April 14, 2007 at Steam Whistle Brewery in Toronto. Women took the top three spots, as best baristas (espresso bar tenders) in a profession traditionally limited to men in Italy.

Kim Staveley, from Matter of Taste in Kitchener was the first woman to win a barista competition in Canada. Co-owner of Matter of Taste, Dawn Tran placed second. Both were trained by co-owner Phong Tran who had placed second in last year’s competition.

“This event was met with enthusiastic competitors and provided the audience with an opportunity to learn about the high level of skill it takes to make a proper espresso beverage,” says event organizer, Vida Radovanovic, president of the Canadian Barista & Coffee Academy.

This year’s regional judges included Toronto famed chef and restaurateur Chris McDonald of Cava restaurant, named best restaurant in Toronto this year by Toronto Life magazine and Wanda Beaver, president of Wanda’s Pie in the Sky, a supplier of desserts and pies to many cafes and restaurants in the city.

Tied for third place was Yvonne Ramirez of Dolce Gelato & Café on College Street in Toronto who created a signature beverage using gelato and Cathy So of Avenue Café & Bistro, a popular and café on University Avenue in Toronto.

The winner of the regional competition has secured a spot in the finals rounds of the Canadian National Barista Championship to be held September 16-17, 2007 at the Toronto Congress Centre. The competition is open to both novices and seasoned operators alike, and some fabulous prizes are available to be won – including the winner’s trip to the 2008 World Barista Championship. The 2007 World Championship will take place in Tokyo, Japan and Canada will be represented by our current national champion, Colter Jones of  Caffe Artigiano in Vancouver.

The regional competitions were organized by the Canadian Barista & Coffee Academy which also offers hands-on Barista Basics & Espresso Training and Advanced Barista Training & Latte Art and Barista Jams in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. The Academy will be presenting a Western Regional competition in August and offering more barista training classes at the Western event and in September in Toronto.

Donations at the event went to the Coffee Kids charity helping children & their families in coffee producing regions to improve the quality of their lives

2007 Eastern Regional Barista Championship Competitors and their scores and rankings:

  1. Kimberly Stavely, Matter of Taste, Kitchener Score: 570.5
  2. Dawn Tran, Matter of Taste, Kitchener 540.5
  3. Ivonne Ramirez, Dolce Gelato & Café, Toronto (tied for 3rd) 516.5
  4. Cathy So, Avenue Café & Bistro, Toronto (Tied) 516.5
  5. Matthew Taylor, Mercury Organic Espresso Bar 509
  6. Samuel James, Cherry Bomb Coffee, Toronto 452
  7. Chris Tellez, Espresso Post, Collingwood 444
  8. Alex Tran, Mercury Espresso Bar, Toronto 434
  9. Michael Empacher, F’Coffee, Toronto 338
  10. Elias Vastas, Ce Organics, Toronto 313.5
  11. Chris Wilson, Journo, Toronto 161.5
  12. Mathew Lee, Manic Coffee, Toronto (Overtime)

2007 Eastern Regional Winners Profiles

Kimberly Stavely, 1st Place, 2007 Eastern Region Canadian Barista
Champion, Matter of Matter of Taste Coffee Bar, 119 King Street
Kitchener, ON
Back in August 2006 I dropped my resume off at a coffee bar in downtown Kitchener called Matter of Taste. Little did I know that eight months latter I’d become 2007 Regional Barista Champion!
The competition was intense! Preparation required lots of hard work and dedication. The training from Dawn and Phong Tran was vital to my win. There are so many variables that you forget. The hardest and most stressful part of competing was making sure I knew how to adjust these variables to ensure an excellent product. I have always enjoyed the adrenaline rush of competition, and this was my best experience yet! The most stressful part of the day came before I competed. I was very nervous, but once I had my grind set and my espresso looked excellent, my nervousness slowly died and my fifteen minutes of fame began. The proudest moment was when I poured four perfect ‘monk
head’ cappuccinos. Life as a ‘Barista’ taught me discipline, give me the confident in my work and myself. I feel very lucky to have had dropped my resume off back in August 2006.
The concept at Matter of Taste is simple – to offer and be the best in specialty coffee. Owner Dawn Tran and Phong Tran are dedicated to the professional training of barista and instilling an appreciation of coffee to both employees and customers alike. Since opening in March 2004 in downtown Kitchener, Matter of Taste has gain reputation for quality, passion for the coffee culture and for creating beautiful culinary art of coffee. Matter of Taste has trained some of Ontario’s best baristi. In fact, some of the baristi have competed at some level at the Canadian Barista Championship. At Matter of Taste, we are constantly striving to raise the standards of quality and services.

Dawn Tran, 2nd Place, Matter of Taste Coffee Bar, 119 King Street
Kitchener, ON Five years ago, I did not know much about coffee. I open the coffee bar with basic understanding of coffee but I knew I had to learn a lot more. Along the way, I stumbled upon the art of coffee. I saw these beautifully prepared coffee drinks with rosettas and hearts on them. I thought to myself how in the world did they do that? At that moment, I told Phong that if we are to distinguish ourselves that this would be it. We worked hard, developed our skills and taste palettes. Now four years later, Matter of Taste Coffee Bar has brought latte art, coffee culture and the craft of barista to the Kitchener-Waterloo Region.
Currently at Matter of Taste, we have five fully trained baristi. One of my responsibilities is to train all new staff with the basic knowledge of coffee and customer service. If the new employee meet our requirements then we put them into our barista training program.
I really enjoyed the experience of competing at this year’s Canadian Regional Barista Competition. Creating a signature drink was by far the most enjoyable part. First, I had to visualize in my head how the ingredients would taste with coffee. From there it was trial and error to get the correct ratio. Of course, there is the exhilaration of the competition. I was not overly nervous going in, but I felt a greater level of confidence in my ability to perform under pressure after the competition.

Cathy So, 3rd Place, Avenue Café & Bistro, University Avenue,
Toronto, ON
This is the second competition for Cathy So who is a barista at Avenue Café & Bistro. Opened in the summer of 2005, Avenue Café & Bistro is located in the downtown core at the corner of University and Dundas, the Avenue Cafe and Bistro combines sleek design and ambiance, with a wide array of
specialty sandwiches and menu items seldom found in the area. The cafe caters to a mostly business crowd that desires quality food quickly and at reasonable prices.. In addition, the Avenue Cafe, provides catering services to nearby offices. The Avenue Cafe offers its guests Illy Coffee and a vast
selection of specialty beverages such as smoothies. Guests are treated to a minimalistic-chic design. The white walls areadorned with cool designs, art, flat screen tv’s playing black and white classic films and funky music in the background. The Avenue Cafe always strives to deliver on its motto “Excite your Senses”. . Cathy’s signature beverage was “Plum it Up”, a mixture of plum powder, honey, milk and espresso.

Ivonne Ramirez, 3rd Place, Dolce Gelato & Cafe. 697 College St.,
Dolce Gelato is located in the heart of Little Italy has been opened to the public for over a year now. This gelato café have been managed by one of it’s owners, Ivonne Ramirez who started learning this trade and became a Barista five years ago. At Dolce Gelato & Café we proudly serve a blend of seven of the highest quality espresso beans to ensure a rich and creamy espresso we also offer 42 homemade gelato and sorbet flavors. Among them is the MENTA flavour which was used to make the signature drink “Bela Menta” for this year Canadian Eastern Regional Barista Competition .
Having started competing one year ago Ivonne finds the experience each time exciting and gratifying for being recognized this year with the 3rd place in this competitive field of being a barista in a City surrounded by so many excellent coffee shops.

Head Judge & Sensory Judge: Aaron Delazzer – Director of Coffee, Ethical Bean Coffee Roasters, Vancouver , BC

Technical Judges:
Les Kuan – Trainer, Canadian Barista & Coffee Academy / Technical Director, Canadian National Barista Championship, Vancouver , BC

Michael Riesberry – Café Consultant, Zuccarini Importing Company, Toronto

Bill Herne – Coffee Consulting Specialists, Toronto

Krys Hines – Coffee Consultant, Toronto

Drew DeGeer – Senior Sales & Marketing Manager, Ce Organics

Sensory Judges:
Chris McDonald – Owner, chef of Cava Restaurant in Toronto

Wanda Beaver – President & Director of Product Development, Wanda’s Pie in the Sky, Toronto / Partner with Dinah Koo, Wanda’s in the Kitchen with Dinah. Cookbook author.

Sal Costanzo – President, Patera Marketing in Toronto

Sevan Istanboulian – President, Roaster – Café Mystique / Toi et Moi Cafe in Montreal

Baron Drobig – Malkhonig Canada

Master of Ceremonies: Edward Graham – Sales and Marketing Consultant for Zuccarini Importing

2007 Eastern Regional Judges Profile

Sensory Judges

Head Judge: Aaron De Lazzer is Director of Coffee @ Ethical Bean, a roaster/wholesaler in Vancouver , BC . He is a trainer with the Canadian Barista & Coffee Academy . He is an experienced cupper, roaster and is skilled in green coffee selection. He has many years experience in the industry as a consultant.

Bill Herne is a coffee consultant with over 20 years experience as a trainer, green bean buyer & roaster. Once a director of coffee at a leading coffee chain, Bill now specializes in coffee roasting, brand management coffee business start-ups.

Chris McDonald is the Executive Chef and co-owner of “Cava Restaurant”, and previously the owner and Chef of “Avalon” here in Toronto . He is considered to be one of the best chefs in North America . Cava was just nominated Toronto ’s best new restaurant by Toronto Life.

Wanda launched Wanda’s Pie in the Sky with her husband David Beaver in 1985. She has been baking with a passion ever since. In 2002 her cookbook Wanda’s Pie in the Sky was awarded Silver Medal in the “Cuisine Canada Cookbook of the Year” Competition. Today she does business from her two locations: her wholesale division serving Toronto ’s finest restaurants, cafes and gourmet shops, and a collaboration with Dinah Koo – one of Toronto ’s most respected caterers – called “Wanda’s in the Kitchen with Dinah” on Mt. Pleasant Avenue . Wanda teaches hands-on baking classes and spreads her enthusiasm for fresh baked desserts.

Sal Costanzo is President of Patera Group in Toronto , who distributes the La Marzocco, W MF and Promac lines of espresso machines, and Arcaffe coffees. Sal has been in the coffee industry since 1972.

Sevan Istanboulian is a Roaster from Montreal . He started in coffee 15 years ago with “Toi, Moi et Café”, a roaster/retailer. Last year Sevan established Montreal ’s Specialty Coffee Academy , to educate and train coffee professionals as well as newcomers to the industry. Sevan is a Canadian
Barista Championship Judge, a member of the W orld Barista Championship Technical Committee and a longtime member of the Specialty Coffee Association of America and The Roaster’s Guild.

Technical Judges

Les Kuan is the Technical Director of the Canadian National Barista Championships, and Instructor for the Canadian Barista Academy . He is also a consultant for retail and café start-ups. Les is still in denial about being in the coffee industry.

Michael Riesberry has been in the espresso industry for 15 years. He is a former café owner & operator. He has been a regional & national Barista Judge, Certified by Canadian Barista Championship for 3 years in both sensory and technical. Michael is currently employed by Canada’s first espresso machine importer – Zuccarini Importing in Toronto – as a Café Consultant, specializing in espresso bars.

Krys Hines is first & foremost a happily married father of a newborn baby girl. He is a former coffee roaster and retailer, with many years of espresso machine sales and technical support. Krys is an avid cyclist and a former bicycle designer & frame builder, and currently a consultant involved in
technical design and sales.

Drew DeGeer – Restaurateur, coffee consultant and DJ. He built the former Toronto landmark, “Triple X Diner”, where the pilot episode of the American TV show “Queer as Folk” was first shot, and he still runs the Triple X Diner Radio website. Currently, he is the Senior Sales & Marketing Manager for CE Organics, a Canadian company which is first in the world to manufacture a Certified Organic Fair Trade coffee syrup.

Master of Ceremonies: Edward Graham began working in foodservice at 15 years of age. In the 1980’s and ‘90s he owned 2 restaurants and operated 2 cafés. He was also a coffee roaster and retailer for 6 years and has trained many hundreds of people working in the gourmet coffee industry. He is currently a Sales & Marketing Consultant for Zuccarini Importing Company,
Canada ’s first espresso machine importer.

The easy points…

April 5, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — canadianbarista @ 9:53 am

In our judges conference chambers, we often shake our heads at the easy points that are missed by competitors.  Some of this can be blamed for their unfamiliarity with the rules, but everything is actually written in the Canadian Barista Championship rules sheet.

“Clean work area at the start” is surprisingly, rarely scored high.  Maybe it’s the pressure of trying to get everything organized during prep time, but we technical judges are amazed at the amount of coffee grounds, and water drops left on the table, under the machine, on the machine.. etc..

Even worse are grinds on the forks of the grinder, or grinds in the doser throat..   Portafilters that have pucks left in them, or are unwiped are automatic deductions.

Dirty rags, ( bring another set of cloths to use during warmup, so you start with all clean cloths),  and my biggest pet peeve, dirty, lactose encrusted steam pitchers are typical mistakes.  Give them a good scrubbing with either a bryllo pad or some sort of cleaner.  This is something you should do regularly at your cafes anyways,   let alone just for competition.  And make sure they are dry, and empty at the start.

Oh.. and don’t forget the drip tray, and steam wand. We look at everything.

Easy sensory points that are often missed are things like all 4 drinks being served at the same time… same time means just that, at the same time.  Don’t finish and serve two, and then start on the next two.

Make sure all accessories are available,  and remember to wipe the little dribbles and spills on the saucers and cups.

Who knows, these easy points could be the deciding factor in a close competition.

The emcee keeps bugging me!

Filed under: Uncategorized — canadianbarista @ 9:36 am

Every championship has an emcee,  to help translate the competition to the audience, especially to those who are unfamiliar with the format.

You can choose to have the emcee not talk to you directly during your performance, but you may find it advantageous to engage in some banter with the emcee during your performance.

Sometimes the emcee will do sort of a play by play as you go through some of the technical parts of drink building,  you don’t have to interact with him if you don’t feel like it.

The emcee will generally ask you the following directly, unless told otherwise:

A: where do you work?

B:  How long have you been a barista?

C:  What espresso are you using ( which will give you an opportunity to go into the blend characteristics, and the taste profile)

D:  What is your specialty drink?

You can always tell the emcee that you are going to be quiet for a bit to concentrate, if you need to, or you can also tell him to talk to you and ask you questions, if you are nervous.  You are in control.   And yes,  you can ask for the time.

Keeping things clean…

Filed under: Uncategorized — canadianbarista @ 8:56 am

The World Barista Championships were originally designed to teach habits that work in the real world cafe situations.   For the most part, the skills reinforced are still relevant.

Cleaning as you work, is one of these important skills.  The best way to accomplish this is to have dedicated cloths for different purposes, which is what judges look for in.. “proper use of cloths”

The most important cloth is your steam wand cloth.   This cloth is to clean the steam wand only, and should be kept in one place, so you won’t use it to clean anything else.   The steamwand is the last thing to touch your drink,  and wiping it with a cloth used to wipe the floor isn’t a good idea.

There should be a seperate slightly damp cloth to ” dry/clean filter basket”, this cloth should not be used to wipe the counter.  A good place for this cloth is on your apron belt.

You should also have another cloth to wipe the counter.

Some baristas keep a cloth on the drip tray just to clean the drip tray.

Others have another cloth that sits on the counter simply to wipe drips on cups, and to dab the bottom of the cups, before they go on the saucer.

Another great tool to keeping the table top clean is a brush, to brush loose grounds into your knockbox, or garbage can.  The wider the brush, the more real estate you can cover in one sweep.

If you can incorporate cleaning during your routine,  especially during the times you are just waiting around for your shots to finish, this is a great way to utilize your time and score high points for cleanliness at the finish.

If you finish with time to spare, you can really polish up the machine for extra points.

Importance of dosing..

April 1, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — canadianbarista @ 10:24 am

One of the most common faults we see in baristas’ performances is inconsistent shotmaking.   While making their 4 espresso,  one set of shots run 25 seconds for 3 oz,  while the next set is lightning quick at 17 seconds.  What happened here?

It’s possible that a sudden tropical front invaded the competition stage, thus changing the relative humidity, causing the grounds to swell, thus creating more space between coffee particles, causing the quicker extraction.   Possible, but unlikely, given the tiny gap between the two sets of shots.  Yet, how many times have we seen baristas immediately try and dial in a new grind in the middle of their performance?

A more likely suspect is dosing.

With the pressure of two technical judges hovering over them, a 15 minute time clock,  mom and dad in the audience, we can tighten up, and  change our routine.  This will vary our dose.  If we tap the portafilter on the grinder forks just a little too hard while dosing, or use a little more downward pressure with our fingers while distributing, we can very easily work in a little more ( or less) coffee into the filter basket.

A fraction of a  gram is all it takes to throw the shot times off, depending on the coarseness of the grind.

The technical judges watch every aspect of your dosing and tamping technique, looking for a repeating, consistent method.  What they observe will be backed up by the shot times, and the density of the puck after extraction ( that’s what they are feeling when they poke their fat little fingers into your pucks) .

So remember,  keep your dosing consistent.  The technical scoresheet itself highlights this, because you are marked on ” CONSISTENT dosing and tamping.

The best competitors will have shots of equal volumes, equal extraction times, and pucks that feel the same density.  So make sure you rule out a dosing problem before you hit the panic button and adjust that grind.


March 29, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — canadianbarista @ 9:22 am

The new rules for the 2007 Canadian Regional Championships should be up at the site by now.

Canada was the first country to adopt the 2007 rules, using them in the 2006 National finals in Vancouver, thanks to John Sanders, from Hines/Origins coffee, who snuck us an advanced copy of the rules.

Everyone should read the new rules thoroughly and post your questions to this blog,  but I will give a quick synopsis of some of the major changes.

1. Scoring system changes  Basically the scoresheet has been changed to put less weighting on subjective items such as barista attire, and overall impression, and more emphasis on taste, and technical performance.  I would spell it out in more detail, but I want you all to read the new rules ( evil laugh).

2.  Setting up Judge’s table ahead of time.  Yes, you are now permitted to use a portion of your 15 minute set up time to set up your presentation on the judge’s table BEFORE your routine begins.

Be warned, that if you choose to do this, you will be eating into your warm-up time, so this will be a trade-off you will have to decide on your own.

Competitors however, are not permitted to fill water glasses until the presentation officially starts.

There are more changes, to proper cups, milk waste, etc.  so please read these sections carefully.  Overall, the point total will be less, so scores should be lower on the whole.  However, seeing that this is our third competition held in Toronto, I expect to see scores increase as our East Coast talent gains more experience.