Victoria's Rob Kettner Wins Canadian Barista Championship

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Victoria barista Rob Kettner is the winner of the 2010 Canadian Barista Championship, held in Toronto at the Canadian Coffee & Tea Show in late September. Kettner makes espresso drinks at the Parsonage and Fernwood Coffee, the café’s next-door roasting operation on North Park Street. He beat a trio of Calgary coffee makers who took second through fourth place and a pair of baristas from Caffe Artigiano in Vancouver at fifth and sixth spot.

Kettner had to make a dozen separate beverages in just 15 minutes: four espressos, four capuccinos, and four “signature” drinks of his creation. 

Victoria was well-represented in this year’s event with three of the 15 baristas in the national competition who worked their way up from regional events.

In the eight years the event has been running, Kettner is the first-ever Canadian champion from Victoria. It’s also the first time a barista from Vancouver-based Caffe Artigiano didn’t take home first prize. Kettner will represent Canada in the world championships next June at Bogota, Colombia.

For his signature drinks, Kettner used a Costa Rican coffee from the Second Genesis farm of Oscar and Olga Mendes, and roasted it three different ways to accentuate first its sweetness, then brightness and finally bitterness. The sweet drink was a shot poured over a raisin reduction. He also used a “cold brew tower” which took eight hours for ice water to work its way through.

“I had that dripping on stage,” he says. Kettner poured that out into a canister, charged it with nitrous oxide and made a velvety coffee foam, served in a tall glass with tonic water. Another hot signature drink had an espresso shot with a drop of lemon curd.

Logan Gray of Discovery Coffee and Mal Keyklywyj of Street Level Espresso were the other Victoria baristas at the competition. See www.coffeeteashow.ca/barista.