The 2012 Prairie Regional Barista Championship was hosted at Calgary’s Fratello Roasterie. It was my first time attending a barista competition, but thankfully there were several volunteers and guests who graciously explained the process to a newbie like me.
Each competitor is given an allotted amount of time to perform his/her activities, and he/she is rated on a 6-point scale for various criteria, between 0 of unacceptable and 6 being extraordinary (who thought of that!). It starts with an initial Preparation Time, followed by another 15 minutes of Competition Time. The Preparation Time allows the barista to adjust his/her grind, set up the judging table and workstation – its a testament to how well a barista sets up before entertaining guests at his/her house.
Then, once the barista raises his/her hand to indicate that he/she is ready, the Competition Time ticks down. During these next fifteen minutes, the barista needs prepare three beverages for each of the four Sensory judges – an espresso, a cappuccino, and a signature drink.
Their technical skills are monitored by the Technical judges, observing their every dose, tamp and extract of espresso and texturing of their milk. This is all done while his/her their host and service skills, as the barista weaves a story of the coffee beans origins, his/her style of preparation, or simply why coffee is so significant in their lives.
It was enjoyable to see the different styles of each barista, each with their own approach to the signature drink and the way they explained their passions to the judges.
Congratulations to the top four: 4th place Daniel Lodewyk (Transcend Coffee, Edmonton), 3rd place Shane Hauser (Transcend Coffee, Edmonton), 2nd place Jeremy Ho (Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters, Calgary) and 1st place winner Benjamin Putt (Phil and Sebastian Coffee Roasters, Calgary).
See all the photos in the Prairie Regional Barista Championship 2012 set! If you’re interested in the criteria baristas are scored against, here is a PDF link to the World Barista Championship Rules and Regulations.