When Bridgette Hyun opened her first coffee shop last spring in Coquitlam, she wondered why there was no latté art competition for baristas in the Tri-Cities, as there is in Vancouver.
The events not only celebrate the coffee industry but test top baristas on such skills as speed, creativity, clarity and presentation of their cups of java.
Jan. 22, Hyun and her business co-owner Ru Lee will host a dozen baristas vying for prizes — and bragging rights — at their first annual Tri-City Latté Art Competition, an event sponsored in part by The Tri-City News that starts at 6:30 p.m. at C Market Coffee.
With Tom Fitzgerald, the founder of Siply and a coffee blogger, MCing, the 12 baristas will use green beans imported by Mountain Coffee in Delta to work their foaming magic.
Over about two hours, judges Mengo McCall of Mountain Coffee, Ben Rugg of Pallet Coffee Roasters and Richard Wolak, the co-host of Food Glorious Food on radio station CKNW, will whittle down the competition to find the best three latté makers in the region.
For the first round, contestants will be asked to provide a “free pour” — that is, create a design of their choice. Six baristas will then advance to Round 2 to craft a turmeric latté with ingredients from Blume, a contest sponsor. For the final round, three candidates will be invited to pick a number that will provide a template of their potential winning artwork — be it a heart, rosetta, etch spirals, bear or swan — with foamed milk.
The winner will receive a trophy and $500 in prizes (courtesy of Stealth Coffee)while the runner-up will get $400 in gifts; the barista in third place will receive $100 in prizes, said Hyun.
Up to 52 people can watch the competition unfold at the Schoolhouse Street café and organizers will have a live video feed projected onto a TV screen. Admission is $10.
As well, proceeds from the raffle (tickets: $10) will support the expansion of the emergency department at Eagle Ridge Hospital. Among the raffle items are: a $500 commercial knife set; Moody Ales swag; coffee discounts; and beauty services.
Hyun picked the Port Moody hospital as the fundraising recipient “because everyone in the Tri-Cities uses it and it’s great that they are building a bigger emergency ward.”
The goal of the event, she said, is to give back to the community and bring awareness to her café, where Hyun hopes business people can gather and connect.
For entry to the inaugural Tri-City latté art contest and/or raffle tickets, go to eventbrite.ca or purchase them at C Market Coffee Roastery + Kitchen (111-100 Schoolhouse St..). For more details, go to cmarket.ca or call 604-474-2026.
Devorah McArthur, C Market
Alyssa Rugg, Pallet Coffee Roasters
Kyoung Jun Min, Pallet Coffee Roasters
Jake Neville, Pallet Coffee Roasters
Gabriel Morin, Pallet Coffee Roasters
Eric Hou, Caristas 9 Coffee Roasters
Stephanie Ng, roaster and operation manager at Fresh Cup Roastery Cafe
Calvin Kuo, Rocanini Coffee Roasters
Steven Kwon, C Market