Prairies Regional Barista Competition, 2010
The PRBC was held at Fratello Coffee Roasters on Saturday. There were 10 competitors this year; since the number of regionals has been whittled down to three (from four- lack of interest in Montreal has resulted in its elimination as a regional) means that the top five, not the top four as in the last two years, head to nationals. The other regionals were Western in Vancouver and Eastern in Toronto.
The results are pretty surprising with three of the five from Phil & Sebastian! Never have three baristas from the same company (if not the same shop per se) competed at nationals, not in Canada at least.
1. Ben Put, P&S
2. Josh Hockin, Transcend (Edmonton)
3. Jeremy Ho, P&S
4. Joel May, Fratello
5. Chris Tellez, P&S
There were additional competitors from P&S, Transcend, Insomnia, Beano and and Cafe Haven (Sherwood Park). In addition to this absolute declaration that Phil and Sebastian are forces to reckon with not only as a coffeehouse but also as coffee roasters, what I think is most amazing and important about this comp is that every single one of the competitors used a local roaster. The three Edmonton-area competitors used Transcend (and I can tell you that they are spectacular); four Calgary competitors used P&S (each used a unique blend or varietal) and three used Fratello. This is a pretty astonishing sea change in the coffee scene here. In 2008 six of thirteen competitors used some non-locally-roasted beans; in 2009 only two did. This is important.
I was talking to Josh Hockin and Poul Mark (owner of Transcend) last week, a couple days before the competition, and the coffee that Josh was using was a small farm Costa Rican that they only had a tiny amount of. They are bringing more in - it was in a warehouse in California that day... They were roasting it for espresso for the competition, but I had some as a medium roast, and it was a really great coffee.
re: Dan G
We've been tripping out on Josh's CR since the comp here at Chez Manzo. I got to taste one of his shots (all competitors made drinks for anybody who wanted to taste theirs after their presentations) and after I told him it was "orgasmic" he gave me a 2lb bag! When I refused that (too much!) he gave me a 3/4lb bag instead. Sweetheart, that guy.
No idea what it is, but they only managed to field 6 competitors last year for the Montreal regionals, and even in 2008 when they had nationals in Montreal, some of the qualifying baristas who live there couldn't be bothered to show up. Meanwhile nine from Vancouver and Calgary flew thousands of kms to compete. For 2010, the local organizers never even managed to get a venue so the WBC kicked them out. So they ended up with TWENTY competitors in Toronto what with the five or so from Ottawa/Montreal who would've competed in Montreal- that one must have a nightmare for judging. The poor MC must have had laryngitis; it took more than 12 hours!