My wife Maggie and I took a trip to Toronto to see the regional barista championships in Toronto. I have never seen an event like this so it was amazing to see the amount of prep that goes into a competition like this.
Each barista is given 15 minutes to prep their station. This includes setting the cups on the warming tray, inspecting and priming the grinder, pulling espresso shots to test the $20,000 machine, and even carrying a lucky rag to do the clean up in between drinks!
After prep, the barista has exactly 15 more minutes to make 12 drinks for 4 judges: 4 espressos, 4 cappuccino and 4 of the barista's specialty drink. During the making of the drinks, judges were all over the competitor, watching everything from how he/she tamped, ground, and even cleaned their portafilter after each shot. Pretty intimidating if you ask me!
A specialty drink that caught my eye was an oak smoked glass with an espresso shot that has been infused with cherry reduction drops and then a salted cherry added to the glass. Cool I must say!
It was an amazing day and I urge you to check out this block of are in Toronto where Propeller Coffee Roasters are situated. On a walk around the block, I encountered 4-5 small cafés with unique set ups. Also check out Wallace Espresso - a small cut out of a building that has just enough room to order coffee and get out!
Here are some pics from yesterday