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Sep 13, 2009 09:45 AM

Prairies Regional Barista Championship 2009

The PRBC took place yesterday at Fratello Coffee in Calgary. There were fewer competitors this year vs last (11 vs 13) but I think all would agree that the level of competition was much higher. This year (in a trend that seems to have happened at other regional qualifiers) there was only one round; instead of the top 6 on day one competing the next day, they announced at the end of this looooong day (competition began at 9:30a and winners were announced just after 6p) who would be representing prairies at nationals in Vancouver next month.

So here are the top 6; top 4 go to nationals:

6: Jimmy Oneschuk from Museo Coffee (Saskatoon) – 476
5: Mike Tam from Phil & Sebastian Coffee Co (Calgary) – 602.5
4: Josh Hockin from Transcend Coffee (Edmonton) – 607
3: Chad Moss from Transcend Coffee (Edmonton) – 628
2: Joel May from Fratello Coffee Co (Calgary) – 628.5
1: Ben Put from Phil & Sebastian Coffee Co (Calgary) – 632

The closeness of the top 5 is pretty incredible and I think a day 2 would have been fairer but so it goes, congrats to all regardless. I did not judge but was there for the entire thing and the organizers did an excellent job, with lots of laughs and swag (I walked away with 1.5 lbs of coffee and a can of grindz to clean my grinder burrs) for the patient audience.

There were also competitors from DeVille and Bumpy's as well as one home roaster (a very serious home roaster) from Whitecourt. Conspicuously absent were Caffe Artigiano (again), Caffe Rosso, Caffe Beano and other places that take the work of the barista seriously, but that said the quality of work this year was outstanding. A great event!

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  1. Thanks for the report John. Congrats to Ben, Joel, Chad & Josh! Sorry I missed it. :)

    2 Replies
    1. re: maplesugar

      well it was a loooong day- but today I saw Les Kwan who is one of the organizers of all regionals and nationals and he told me that Ben's 632 was the highest qualifying score in the whole country!

      1. re: John Manzo

        Wow here's hoping he can keep it up :)

    2. There were competitors from Kawa Espresso Bar and Java Jamboree as well- sorry for not mentioning them in OP.

      1. Were there more people than last year? What kind of atmosphere did you feel it had? Im curious as to whether the public awareness of specialty coffee has grown at all over the past year or two.

        1 Reply
        1. re: yen

          MUCH bigger audience this year! No contest there- most seats were occupied for the whole 9+ hours. Last year almost everybody in the audience was industry-connected in some way but this year there were lots of folks from the general public and lots (and lots) of friends and family and coworkers the contestants. I'd say there's no question that awareness has grown.