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!
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.