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COFFEE SUBSCRIPTION BUILDER

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SELECT HOW MANY BAGS OF EACH TYPE BELOW.

Cheering On Our Baristas at Nationals

September 05, 2012

Cheering On Our Baristas at Nationals

In this year’s Regional Prairie Barista Competition, our top baristas placed first and second giving them the opportunity to represent the prairies in the 2012 Canadian National Barista Competition held in Toronto, Ontario. Ben Put and Jeremy Ho are no new comers to the National Competition and are, in fact, competing for their third year in a row. After placing in the top four in both 2010 and 2011, we believe these veterans are now top contenders for the gold. After watching them compete each year, we wanted to understand our barista superstars a little better. By asking them a few questions as they geared-up for the big day, we were able to share their personal coffee stories here for you. In return, we ask that you cheer these boys on by coming to the cafe to watch the competition streamed live!

How long have you been a barista, and how did you get started?

I have been a barista for roughly nine years; although, I have only been serious about coffee for seven years.

Like many baristas that work for Phil & Sebastian, my coffee experience began working for a large coffee company. Over time, I realized that coffee was more than just a stimulant, and I was eager to learn more. Unfortunately, the company I worked for was not able to teach me the things I was interested in understanding, so I began seeking out a company that could. My search led me to Phil & Sebastian, whom I now owe most of what I have learned about coffee to them.

When and why did you start competing in barista competitions?
My first experience with barista competitions involved helping Phil prepare for the very first Prairie Regional Barista Competition in 2008. After witnessing the countless hours it took to find the perfect water glasses, I began to understand how much work and planning went into these competitions. Phil practiced hard, and essentially laid the groundwork for how our baristas today prepare for their competitions. Through watching Phil practice, I realized how barista competitions significantly improve your skills and understanding of coffee. I wanted to achieve this elevated learning, so I entered my first competition in 2009, and have been competing since then.

What were your impressions of last year’s competition?
Last year, the national competition took place in Vancouver, and both Jeremy and I were fortunate enough to place in the top three in Canada. It was amazing to help the prairies reach a milestone, as this was the first time the top three finishers were all Albertan Baristas. It is exciting to see how in such a short period, Alberta has improved and developed their coffee to a completely new level.

What is your game plan for this year’s competition?
The game plan this year was to find the right coffee for the right competitor. Prior to the competition, each competitor chooses what coffee they want to compete with. The idea behind this is to find a coffee that is not only delicious, but one that has the competitor so excited that they want to share that coffee and its story. Jeremy is in love with Ethiopian coffee, so he picked a really nice coffee from that country. I chose a Colombian coffee this year. I’ve never competed with a Colombian before, but when I tasted this coffee it was so unique and delicious that I knew I had to use it.

What is your favorite coffee region?
My favorite coffee region would have to be Kenya. Most people do not think of coffee as a refreshing drink, but Kenyan coffees have so much fruit and nice acidity that I find them surprisingly delicious on a hot day.

What do you do outside of coffee?
I went to school for music, so whenever I’m not making coffee I am probably playing music.

What is your favorite color? movie? food?
My favorite color is a tie between blue and grey. For my favorite movie, I would have to say anything by the Coen Brothers. As for my favorite food, I think that nothing beats authentic Mexican.

Competing Round 1
September 9th at 9:50 am – 10:30 PM (mnt time)
Finals are on September 10th from 10:00 am until 1:30 pm

How long have you been a barista, and how did you get started?
I started as a barista in 2006, at a local chain coffeehouse but quickly moved to Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters in 2007. The switch in 2007 was spawned from an espresso and brewed clover I had in Vancouver that absolutely blew me away. I did not know coffee could taste like that, so after this experience, I wanted to taste as much coffee as possible to continue my discovery.

When and why did you start competing in barista competitions?
I started competing in 2010, as it was an aspect of specialty coffee that I found intriguing. I saw it as a chance to present a thought about the industry to a large and engaged audience. Sometimes those opportunities do not come in coffee, and I reveled in the chance to promote fantastic coffee to the public.

What were your impressions of last year’s competition?
Last year was great! My impression was that the level of competition in Canada was definitely increasing. I was excited that the top three, (Josh, Ben and I) were all from Alberta. To me, it showcased the incredible things happening in our province, and to see it validated at the competition was fantastic.

My favorite part was seeing my closest friends in coffee, Ben and Josh, succeed; as well as, the opportunity it gave me to meet so many passionate coffee people from around the country. We have a great community.

What is your game plan for this year’s competition?
SECRET. Kidding. My game plan is to not screw up that much, and hopefully succeed.

What is your favorite coffee region? What is your favorite drink?
My favorite coffee region is Ethiopia, and my favorite drinks are a well-brewed and well-dialed filter coffee and espresso.

What do you do outside of coffee?
I have a master’s in population and public health.

What is your favorite color? movie? food?
My favorite color is navy blue., and I don’t think I have a favorite movie. My favorite food is anything Asian. (Stereotypical, but it’s true).

Competing Round 1
September 9th at 10:50 am – 11:30 am (mnt time)
Finals are on September 10th from 10:00 am until 1:30 pm

 


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