Here at the Meeting Place Cafe, there are some of us that had the opportunity to attend and spectate a barista competition in West End on the 15th of September, and it was such an eye opening experience, we thought it would be cool if we shared some of what happened with you guys! Quick shout out to Venezzio Cafe for holding this barista competition and allowing us to come learn with you!
So we started the morning off with a lovely stroll through the streets of West End from our car park to where the competition would be held (a fair jaunt, mind you). As soon as we walked in the door, we were hit with a wave of creativity in the form of coffee smell, fashionably dressed hipsters, and the sounds of a cafe that would perk up any coffee lover's ears. One of us had been to a couple of these kinds of things before, but the rest of us? It was a totally new experience, and we weren't sure what to expect, so we did what anybody would do. We sat in the back and waited for the competition to start.
Basically, there are five things the judges are looking for in a competition like this: espresso quality, presentation, signature drink, milk drink, and timing. All of these factor into your scores at the end, so obviously the barista's skill of multitasking and time management both come into play. You have fifteen minutes to make your presentation, in which you have to pour four judges a shot of espresso, that your knowledge of the origins of said espresso has to be pretty specific, a milk drink, with an explanation as to why you chose that one, and a signature drink that brings into play the innovation and creativity that is so prevalent in cafe culture today. There were a total of six competitors, each one of them providing a totally new perspective on the way that we view coffee and it's origins, it's taste, and it's boundaries of what it can taste like. Everything counts when you're behind the bar, and whether or not it's your first ever barista competition, or this is basically your profession, the judges and the spectators just want you to have a good time showing off your craft. Barista competitions don't have to be scary, it just means you get a chance to show off everything that you've learned.
Our Favorite Parts
What were our favorite parts of the competition, you ask? Wonderful question!
Matt says his favorite part was "The combination of competition and creativity was incredible. Long hours of work and practice went into each presentation, complimented by technical skills, and a complete knowledge of sourcing, and flavours." Mish says her favorite part was "The beauty of science, art and creativity enhancing and adding to every element of the presentation made me love coffee more. It also opened my eyes to all the vast elements that go into making the perfect blend and how much more I have to learn about the incredible culture surrounding coffee." and Lizzie says her favorite part is "Honestly, I love the way that each of the competitor's personalities came through in the way that they presented. Getting to know each of them while they explain where their coffee came from or why they chose this signature drink was a unique experience for me and I thought it was rad. These guys have a lot of talent and skill, but I loved how they made their presentation their own."
If you've been to a thousand of these things, or if this is the first time you're hearing about it, there's always more to learn about coffee and cafe culture! If you're reading this blog, I'll assume that's you, and just watching coffee competition can make you ask questions you didn't know to ask, or maybe just to enjoy the presentations for a while. I hope this gained you a bit more insight into how the world of coffee competition operates!
Cheers from The Meeting Place Cafe
A blog brought to you by the staff of The Meeting Place Cafe. Highlighting coffee and community both locally and abroad.