This year has shown some of the most talented and committed baristas yet! From Day One through to the Finals, everyone showed passion, dedication, and an immense talent for understanding and sharing coffee knowledge. Congratulations to everyone on all your accomplishments!
This year I had the immense privilege of not only attending the competition for a third year, but assisting our very talented baristas from Phil & Sebastian as they worked very hard on presenting their coffee. Jeremy Ho (blog here), Ben Put, and Chris Tellez made it through an intense in-house competition and a very tight Regional competition to make it to Toronto this past weekend. I really do believe that our Prairies Region has some of the best baristas in Canada.
This is evidenced by having three from our region make it into the Finals! A shout-out to to Josh Hockin of Transcend Coffee who did our region proud in his presentation and our fellow Calgarian Joel May of Fratello Coffee who ended up taking the third place finish this weekend! Congrats!
The final results are as follows:
1st – Rob Kettner of Fernwood Coffee
2nd – Ben Put of Phil & Sebastian
3rd – Joel May of Fratello Coffee
4th – Jeremy Ho of Phil & Sebastian
5th – Philip Hong of Caffe Artigiano
6th – Cheryl Wright of Caffe Artigiano
We were up early again on Monday as Jeremy was up first starting right at noon. To be honest, the whole day went by so quickly that it feels a bit surreal it’s all over.
Jeremy really nailed his presentation for finals. He showed his passion and enthusiasm as only Jeremy can, really drawing the judges in to his coffee and excitement. The Wollondi coffee from Ethiopia that Jeremy used was probably one of the most unique origins we saw at the competition this year and it tasted amazing! Watch for it making an appearance at the cafe sometime in the near future.
Ben went fourth in the day and it was his best performance yet. He was calm, passionate, detailed, and spot on with his tasting notes. It’s no surprise that he ended up 2nd this year and was very very close to taking first! I’ve worked with Ben for about four years now and it’s been very exciting to see how he’s grown as a barista and how he continues to show his passion and commitment to the industry!
Overall this experience, I think for all of us, (Ben, Jeremy, Chris, Karine, Nicole, and myself) has been hectic, stressful, exciting, and so rewarding! We really learned that more than anything, barista competitions are a TEAM effort. Each of the guys really supported each other and it was amazing to have Nicole and Karine there to help with all those big and small details. The community we have here at Phil & Sebastian, and the community in Alberta, really showed through over the course of those three days. I feel so proud of Ben, Chris, and Jeremy and also very proud that I had a small part in helping them achieve the results that they did!
For now, we pack up our glassware and plates and saucers and napkins, but watch out! We’ll be back next year and if this year shows anything, we’re a force to be reckoned with!