Canadian Barista Championship, Montreal, Oct 21-22, 2008

Just a quick interim post with the first round results of the Canadian Barista Championship being held in Montreal on October 21-22 in conjunction with the Canada Coffee & Tea Show. Sixteen baristi competed (4 baristi from each of 4 regional competitions), and this is the first year that all baristi qualified for the national competition via regional competitions (no open entries like in the past).

The top six baristi from the first round who qualified for the finals (starting at 12 noon Eastern Time on Tuesday, October 22) are as follows (in no particular order):

Joel May Fratello Coffee Company Calgary, AB
Spencer Vieghweger JJ Bean Coffee Vancouver, BC
Anthony Benda Café Myriade Montreal, Quebec
Chad Moss Transcend Coffee Edmonton, AB
Phil Robertson Phil & Sebastian Coffee Calgary, AB
Sammy Piccolo Caffè Artigiano Vancouver, BC

Notable is that that 5 out of the 6 finalists hail from Western Canada, with Anthony Benda the only representative from the Eastern part of the country. Many will point out that this wouldn’t necessarily reflect the quickly changing Eastern and Central landscape for specialty coffee in Canada, which has many excellent roasters, cafes and baristi (Montreal alone has several top cafes, including Cafe Sante Veritas, Anthony’s former employer, and his soon to open Cafe Myriade).

Video coverage (live streaming and archived videos) is available at


2 Responses to “Canadian Barista Championship, Montreal, Oct 21-22, 2008”

  1. John Manzo Says:

    I think the story here isn’t the lack of Ontario/Quebec but of the insane growth and ascendance of Alberta. The growth of the third-wave scene in Calgary–with four new third-wave shops opening in 2008 alone–has outpaced every city in the country. Bear in mind that Calgary is not even one-third the size of (greater) Montreal– never mind Toronto.

  2. terrakeramik Says:

    John, thanks for your insight (I moved your reply to the correct post).

    Agree that part of the untold story is the explosive growth in Calgary. If you look back at 2007 in Toronto, of the 8 finalists, 6 were from BC and none from Alberta. So yes Calgary has a lot to be proud of. But there are other untold stories. What would have happened if Colter Jones and Mike Yung both competed? Should Laura Perry have made the final? What if Luke Spicer and Jordan Mayall didn’t drop out at the last minute? I visited your blog and read your commentary of yesterday’s first round. I was online for several comps, and apart from the poor video feed and audio quality, the moderators (both in the room and online) could have done a lot more to explain to and educate the home barista and coffee consumer. Some of the banter may have been ok between baristi who know each other, but it does very little to spread the knowledge and get people interested and excited. And the great story of Calgary should have been told. Maybe a summary on Coffeegeek is in order with some nice photos?

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