We Went to the National Barista Competition!

But just to watch. And it was amazing. The event was held in conjunction with the Canadian Coffee and Tea Show. Competitors from all over specialty cafes in the country are to compete in this event, and all the coffee professionals either attended or streamed it live. We sent myself and Cory from the cafe to check out the vendors and see the competition.

We got to experience Vancouver coffee culture. We toured many cafes, exhausting ourselves, and our pallets with cappuccino after cappuccino, and all the baked goods! It was a huge burden, but one we were willing to carry. One of our favourite stops was Timbertrain coffee. The are a relatively new roastery, and have really sweet milk chocolate espresso that is so delicious in a milk drink! We also went to this really cool cafe called Revolver. They carry roasters from all over the world, and brew “flights” of coffee the way some restaurants do beer, so you can try 3 different kinds at once! The highlight of our little tour was easily Matchstick! I had yet to visit our friends that provide our coffee shop in Kelowna with delicious beans, and I was blown away. Their east Georgia street location hosted an amazing pizza and beer party, and demonstrated a really cool new espresso machine.

The competition and trade show were really fascinating too. We got to get really nerdy and play with all these awesome new espresso bars and grinders! We were baristas in barista heaven! And, oh man, Ben’s competition set. Not only did he pump funky beats, like Katy Perry’s “teenage dream” (my personal highlight) but he used a vacuum sealer on his espresso to remove some of the bitterness that naturally happens in espresso. He then used a whip cream canister to brew more espresso! As if that weren’t enough, he used jasmine tea infused dry ice to add the aroma of jasmine to his drink! It basically looked like a mad scientist had control of the arena. It was the craziest thing ever! Yes, super nerdy, but what does this mean for the rest of us? Well, Ben is making amazing strides in our industry trying to extract better and sweeter flavours out of his coffee, and playing with water mineral levels to obtain the perfect cup of joe. These cool techniques or flavours make it into the coffee shops, and the competitors influence their friends and co-workers, basically building coffee culture not only in Kelowna coffee shops, but globally. Plus we have an awesome competitor to cheer for at worlds this year!

If you want to cheer for Ben with us, or want any information on the places we visited, check out:

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