At the end of a morning filled with caffeine and camaraderie, Roy Minett from White Caps Cappuccino was crowned top barista in the first Comox Valley Barista Challenge.
Minett won the challenge Wednesday morning at the Wandering Moose Café in Cumberland, with Nicole Cowan from Grassi Point Farm Market coming in as the runner-up.
The Barista Challenge was part of the Comox Valley 30-Day Local Food Challenge and was put on by the food challenge, the Wandering Moose Café and Royston Roasting Company, which donated the espresso and dairy, as well as additional equipment.
“It was a first annual, and I thought it was just a fantastic success,” said Dyan Spink, owner of Royston Roasting Company. “It looked great seeing all those local coffee artists working together and enjoying their art. The audience seemed to get into it, too.”
The Barista Challenge also featured a latte art competition, and Sarah Horgan from Zocalo Café and Gallery won the trophy for latte art after a tie with John Sanzana, owner and head roaster of Rhodos Coffee Roasting Company.
Taylor Doberstein from Rhodos was the runner-up.
Participants had to make a cappuccino, an espresso and a signature drink.
“We had a neat couple of signature drinks,” said Spink. “One was quite cool. John from Rhodos made it — it was mango, espresso and chocolate with cayenne spice. He called it A Taste of India. It was so much fun.”
Six baristas competed Wednesday morning — Horgan, Sanzana, Doberstein, Minett, Cowan and Wandering Moose Café owner Bill Ransom.
Their creations were judged by Mike Collins from The Broken Spoke, Natasha Mew from Royston Roasting Company, Cheryl McLeod from Brewed Awakenings at the Comox Marina and Kellie Pearson from Rhodos.
“We were very impressed with the judges,” said Spink. “They really did a good job. Mike was even teaching the audience how to make specialty coffees. It was very interactive. Mike really pulled it together with the crowd.”
Spink thought the Wandering Moose Café was the ideal spot for the competition.
“I thought the Wandering Moose was just such a wonderful space,” she said. “A lot of people just loved the space.”
Spink feels the baristas all had fun getting together.
“They were quite excited,” she said. “They’re all talking about next year.”