DOUGLAS – Coffee-keen Victoria hosted the western round of the Canadian Barista Championships Aug. 29-30 and the crowd at Da Vinci Centre saw two local masters finish near the top.
Derek Lucas of Buon Amici in Victoria West won third place and Robert Kettner of Fernwood Coffee took fourth.
Winner was Kyle Straw, who practices his art at Caffe Artigiano in Vancouver. Second was Spencer Viehweger of J.J. Bean, also in the big city.
“It was the best turnout of any Canadian barista championship ever,” according to Sam Jones, who organized more than two dozen volunteers for the two-day event.
“I’m still pumped,” said Jones, the proprietor of busy 2% Jazz and a former competitor himself.
Reg Barber, who markets his coffee tampers around the world from Victoria, was one of two official hosts for the event, working six weeks fulltime to help organize the event.
“It was a really big deal for me,” said Barber. The championships went off so well, the Victoria coffee crowd is proposing to bring the Canadian national championships here for 2011, he said.
Competition on the weekend was stiff, but the event still had a local flavour of “friendliness and helpfulness,” said Jones, much appreciated by the Whitehorse barista who drove down with just a supply of coffee beans. “Everyone helped her out,” he said.
“Volunteers and other competitors all pooled [together] and got her the equipment she needed to compete.”
“Everyone jumped right in and helped her out. That’s the kind of community baristas are,” Barber added.
Just a dozen competitors were entered but it’s a serious event for the coffee world. Each barista gets 45 minutes to demonstrate how to make an espresso, a cappuccino and a special drink.
For example, the “sensory” scoresheet marks an espresso shot for “colour of crema (hazelnut, dark brown, reddish reflections,)” and “tactile balance.” Is it “fullbodied, round, smooth?”
The national championships at which the top Victoria finishers will compete against the best from the prairies and eastern Canada are in Vancouver at the convention and exhibition centre Oct 14-15.
For more details, see www.canadianbaristaacademy.com