A Successful Weekend of the Canadian Brewer’s Cup and Cup Taster’s Events!

We are winding down from a very successful specialty coffee industry event weekend! This past weekend Bridgehead hosted the 2nd Annual Canadian National Brewers Cup, and the Annual Canadian Cup Taster’s Championships at the Bridgehead Roastery.

For news coverage of this past weekend, please go here.

Thanks to all who participated, as a judge, as a spectator, as a volunteer or supported in other ways! Thank you specifically to some of our own Bridgehead staff who participated as volunteers: 

Chris, and Rachael from Fairmont (Canadian Cup Taster’s Logistics) Ryan and Sean from Albert (A/V and Brewers cup volunteers respectively) Randy, Brendan, Gavin, from our Roastery (A/V, Brewers cup, and gift swag bag assembly volunteers respectively). Ian, our coffee director who organized the cup tasters events Cliff our Roaster, who organized the brewers cup.

We had a lot of local volunteer support as well!

Congratulations goes out to first time competitors, Nicolas Ladouceur from our Preston location who competed in the Brewers cup and the cup tasters , as well as Brendan Butt  from our roastery who competed in the cup tasters.

We held our own in a tough national field, and the Bridgehead community couldn’t be more proud of you both.

This was the very first time a coffee event (let alone a national one) has been held in our nation’s capital, and we are pleased to say Ottawa really did show those who came from out of town (from as far as Vancouver) how passionate, and welcoming we are as a local coffee community. 

Please look for video footage going up in the next week or so on www.brewersandtasters.com.

 Thanks for a great weekend!

 The Brewers and Tasters Organizational Committee

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A Look at Where Our Tea Comes From!

This post is written by the lovely shop manager Jen as she travels through India. She visited Singell Estate – a tea garden that we buy our Darjeeling for our English Breakfast blend and our Earl Grey tea from!

The farm was very peaceful and beautiful, in the Darjeeling district but about an hour and a half drive from Darjeeling town in Kurseong.  The tea production actually takes place over night so I didn’t get to see any of the rollers or dryers in action, but we took pictures for you anyways.  I realized after we left that I forgot to ask to go on the roof to take a picture of the wilting trays.  The lighting inside the factory was really bad but I hope you can still use some of the pictures. 

Being out in the fields was my favourite part of the day.  We joined the ladies after their lunch break and they showed me how they only pluck from the very top of the table so that the plants can stay healthy.  They work on one section at a time and they have a supervisor named Muna.  Parveez said that it is not common for a farm to employ women supervisors.  Muna used to pluck as well.  Plucking is much harder than it looks! Although I knew to look for “two leaves one bud” when I tried my hand at it there were so many leaves I got flustered!  Luckily Muna was a great supervisor and she helped me out.

Parveez has been with Tea Promoters India for 13 years, and with Singell Estate since December 2012. He used to work on farms that did not use organic methods, he said it takes a real shift in thinking to “change the old frame of mind.”

In organic farming there is more of a chance to use problem solving skills, it is less standardized than non organic.  So instead of finding out there is a certain pest in the field and applying the recommended pest control and being done with it, there  needs to be different combinations of organic product/timing/elevation to make it work.  It is different every time. The motto of the farm is “live and let live” while we were in the fields there were many dragonflies and ladybirds – all the plants, animals and insects need to stay to keep farm diverse and healthy. The farm is 150 years old although it wasn’t always organic.

Each of TPI’s farms has a joint body that includes workers from the farms.  Their head secretary and mediator is a woman named Chandrakala.  Her family is proud of her that she is making a difference in villagers’ lives every day. She helps present the Annual Development Program – (it reminded me of how Bridgehead works) where all members of the farm are invited to attend and they are shown how the farm did in the previous year and what goals there are for the upcoming year. All FLO information and policies are translated in local language and posted for transparence. Workers work maximum 8 hour days with lunch break or get paid overtime. A new initiative is investing in Social Security bonds for workers with fair trade premiums. They are getting ready for a health fair on May 12 – they are pairing up with NGOs to have an information fair for workers with different booths set up.

Canadian Brewers Cup & Canadian Cup Tasters Events on April 20-21

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We are happy to announce that we will be hosting this year’s Canadian Brewers Cup and Canadian Cup Tasters Events on April 20 – 21st at our Roastery. Check out the website for more information: http://brewersandtasters.com/

These are two national competitions and so we look forward to bringing the national specialty coffee community together for a bit of friendly competition and some fun! The winner of the Brewer’s Cup will to go Melbourne, Australia to compete in the international competition, travel and accommodations will be covered! The winner of the Cup Taster’s will go to Nice, France to compete in the international competition, travel and accommodations will be covered.

For our staff, if you would like to compete for Bridgehead, we will be hosting an in-house competition at the end of March to determine the top 2 competitors for each competition. If you are interested in competing, or if you have any questions, please let Laura Perry know via email laura.perry@bridgehead.ca

If you would like to volunteer, please head straight to the website and register using the form. This is an excellent opportunity to mingle with those across the country who are as excited about coffee as we are.

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Our Staff Holiday Drop-in!

Last Thursday at our Roastery we held a little get together for our hardworking staff for the holidays. There was a rousing carolling open-mic along with a craft table for people to decorate a stocking for each store, make Christmas tree ornaments, and even learn some origami! Come check out the Roastery to see the stockings and ornaments – glitter glue and holiday cheer (and a few beers) made for some ‘unique’ creations! Speaking of beer, if you liked what we were serving that night, it was from Beyond the Pale, a great new local brewery that opened up in Hintonburg. The lovely people at the Kitchen also worked hard on making some fantastic flavour shakers for the popcorn – everything from Kimchi to Mac and Cheese! Thanks to everyone who came out, everyone who helped set-up and everyone who helped clean up glitter and popcorn off the Roastery floor for the next couple of days!