We just wanted to share the outcomes (and pictures!) of the Canadian National Barista Competition, held in Missisauga Ontario late September.
On day one (Sunday Sept 26th), Cliff gave a solid performance, considering his bus broke down the final day we was to practice. His capps looked great and scored 4’s, and his espressos scored 4’s as well.
Cliff kept control and poise even though his mic malfunctioned for this first half of the performance and the video feed also cut out for awhile. Well done Cliff!
Unfortunately timing got the best of him and he ended up finishing 1:40 overtime, which means he was disqualified from the competition.
His speaking skills were solid and he was able to convey to the judges what his blend consisted of and why he chose to pair our Guatemalan (60%), with full body , with Peruvian (40%) with a soft acidity and botanical quality.
Cliff’s signature drink is called a “reconstructed espresso”, and took the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd parts of the espresso shot and had them separated.
He then paired each part of the shot with an ingredient that helped balance or contrast the shot. The first part of the shot had presspot coffee from peru to give more volume to the drink and mellow out the acidity. The second part of the shot he paired with cashew rosemary infused browned butter that he made during the competition. It smelled AMAZING. The final part of the shot is most often thin and bitter, but Cliff had a wonderful idea in pairing that with basil and lime zest.
It was a creative drink with lots of challenging flavours. He had the judges put the three components together after tasting each one and had this espresso, reconstructed with the new ingredients.
It was fun to watch and he even poured this capps at the judges table!
Our superstar volunteers Jen Broad and Evan Williams made a seriously excellent impression at the competition during the preliminaries and the finals. They were rockstars on machine maintenance which meant cleaning the machines between each competitor. Every little part of the machine (group gaskets, dispersion screens, steam wands, portafilters and baskets, external body) had to be spotless to give each competitor a fair playing field, and they were getting compliments from the stage manager, former barista champion Kyle Straw, as well as the espresso machine licenced techs. Jen and Evan were seriously making the whole thing run smooth. It’s the Bridgehead way!
Brendan Butt, as always, was holding his own through audio visual and trying his best to ensure the competition looked and sounded great while streaming online. He was also in charge of competitors’ music. Well done!
Ian Clark represented as tech judge the first day due to an unfortunate cold and then assumed the role of head judge along for the final round. Always a focused and fair judge, he did a wonderful job!
As for me (Laura), I tried my hand at the inaugural cup taster’s championship along with being Cliff’s runner and telling him to take deep breaths J. I’m happy with the 5 cups right in 3:40, one more cup and I would have made the finals! It was a lot of fun seeing everyone slurping away, trying to figure out the cup that tasted different in a group of three. There were 8 sets and was run very well by Poul Mark from Transcend Coffee Roasters. The guy who won? He is the quality control guy from second cup. Cool guy and does cupping every single day.
The forth machine was available to use, so we put some espresso E in the hopper, as well as summer espresso from Myriade with our friend Anthony, and cranked out coffees for tradeshow attendees, allowing us the opportunity to talk about where our coffee comes from. It was fun!
There is a two part write up of the competition from Mark Prince on http://coffeegeek.com/ and the final results hopefully will be up soon!
Rob Kettner from Fernwood coffee in Victoria won, and certainly everyone who saw his performance knows he was the right guy to win. He gave an exceptional performance and roasted his coffees himself!
Bridgehead once again made a wonderful impression with the volunteers we sent and the friendly presence we gave. People continually mentioned to us how friendly we are as well as helpful. We are so giddy and excited to be back together to tell people about our experience and continue to cultivate coffee culture and absolute pride in our work as a community at Bridgehead.
See you all around!