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,”

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 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 are adorned 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 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.