It was a long weekend in the GTA for the Phil & Sebastian team at the Canadian National Barista Championship but oh, was it ever worth it.
Aimee Ferguson, manager at our Symons Valley Farmers’ Market coffee bar, and a first time competitor, won THIRD place, making her the Top Female Barista in Canada! This is the second year in a row that the top lady barista in the country has come from Phil & Sebastian.
But it wasn’t just a walk in the park getting that trophy. Sunday of the competition was fraught with mishaps, the biggest being a key component of Aimee’s signature drink didn’t make it to the venue: the homemade peach syrup. Luckily, Aimee’s team was able to race back to the hotel and arrived during Aimee’s prep time to save the day. With her syrup, warmth and professionalism, Aimee was determined to make finals in her first year.
Here’s what she thought about her first experience at Nationals:
Competition forces you to push your coffee knowledge to its absolute limits as you’re going up against some seriously passionate and talented baristas. I really enjoyed sharing for 15 minutes with some really cool judges why I love coffee and some of the excitement it brings me. It’s stressful and scary BUT totally worth all the growing pains.
On top of the overall national competition, the CNBC allows baristas to showcase their other skills, such as latte art.
Chris Tellez, our Eastern Account Manager, competed in the Latte Art Competition and took FIRST place. His goal was to tell a story and develop a dialogue with the judges while pouring designs that were intricate yet easy to create. Chris told the story about how he first learned to pour from Josh Hockin, Director of Coffee at Transcend Coffee. He had seen Josh pour a three push tulip, which is what he created for his macchiato pour.
While Chris did the Latte Art Comp, Aimee took on the Soy Latte Art Competition. Because she was a bit stressed out about the overall competition, she found the Soy Latte Art comp to be a bit of a release. When she went up to pour, Aimee said “I felt like I just having fun with other coffee people so I just poured like a normal day in the café.” She poured a rosetta where she threw the leaves, created a heart and then reverse pulled through the leaves. Though it sounds complicated, she insists it’s a simple pour. The judges, however, thought it was fantastic and awarded her FIRST place.
Well done Aimee and Chris!