Post Phil & Sebastian Internal Competition Thoughts…

Hello faithful readers, long time no post!  Lot’s have happened in the massive amount of time since I have written anything.  I’ve been to Tanzania, Japan and Vancouver, and as a cherry on top, have been studying hard for my MCATs!  But do not worry, I shall make it a point to post far more often, as I have much ammunition to use.

For this post, I wanted to just give a quick comment on a really amazing and special event that happened last night.  It was our First Annual Phil & Sebastian Internal Barista Competition.  This event was held in order to determine who was going to represent our cafe at the Prairie Regional competition, which determines who gets to go to the National competition.  For those that have never heard of a Barista Comp before, it’s essentially a focussed performance where the Barista makes 4 single espresso’s, 4 single cappuccino’s, and 4 signature drinks in 15 minutes.  On top of this, they have to consider their technique, cleanliness, presentation and ‘story’, personality, table settings, glassware, music etc. etc. etc.  It’s a really, really difficult and intense competition and thus lots of people should give respect to those that try out to do it.  As many of you probably have figured out, our very own Mike Tam was a competitor, along with two others: Ben Put(t) our cafe Trainer and texture-lover-knife-extrodinaire, and David Mansell, the new guy!  Sadly, I had to withdraw from this comp but I was wrangled into to tech judging the competitors, along with Jason, for the night.

The winners for the night were:

1.Ben Put

2. Mike Tam

3. David Mansell

Congratulations to Ben, who will represent us at the Prairies!  Just wanted to say thought, the process of preparing and competing at a barista competition is extremely tough, and those that see these people please give them RESPEK!  Seriously though, these guys have to hone their performances through countless hours of practice.  Their espresso has to be dialed, balanced, and tasty.  Their milk has to be the perfect texture and temperature, with virtually no waste.  Their technique must be flawless – dosing, tamping, flushing, pulling, time.  And the creation of their signature drink really is a culinary thing.  Notes and flavors in the espresso must be magnified or contrasted through a delicious drink, visually and sensory.  As a technical judge, I realized 1) how hard it is to be a judge (haha) and 2) just how much attention to detail the competitor must have to so many microscopic things.  It’s really amazing.

Also wanted to notet just how cool it was to see the people that turned out.  We had a full house, and it was even mentioned that this kind of crowd would even be considered good for the REGIONALS.  We truly have a great thing happening at Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters.  We have an amazing team, and and equally amazing supportive community of coffee lovers, geeks and enthusiasts.  Hopefully everyone continues to get more and more into coffee and start to develop a passion for it as much as we have (and continue to)!

Jer

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