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 http://www.pedalpower.org  .  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.