Making coffee. Easy, right? But there's actually a lot of art in producing a quality cup of java. Just ask Morgan Allen.
The Regina, Sask. native, now based in Vancouver, recently won the title of "B.C.'s Best Barista" at the Western Regional Barista Championship. Held Sept. 28 and 29 at Artigiano Roasting Co., the competition pitted the province's best coffee artists against each other in a battle for the top spot—and the opportunity to compete nationally.
According to Allen, "dedication to the craft" is what makes a good barista. "[It's about] wanting to make the best cup of coffee possible, and taking every step to ensure you can."
Allen is heading to the Canadian National Barista Competition today and tomorrow at the Vancouver Convention Centre. It's his third time competing nationally—not bad for someone who originally became a barista because he had graduated high school and needed a job.
"I didn't even drink coffee at the time," says Allen, who these days serves up coffee at Caffe Artigiano. "When I started in coffee I had no idea what was possible. Once I started learning more, I realized the learning was never ending. I had no idea about when went into it, and that kept me going."
For the national competition, he'll have 15 minutes to produce four single shot espressos, four single shot cappuccinos, and four single shot signature beverages, all the while talking to the judges about a prepared coffee-related topic of his choice. To get ready for the competition, Allen says he is going to polish his regional championship routine, "doing mock performances over and over and over again and working out all of the kinks."
Considering his talent and dedication to coffee culture, it's pretty safe to say Allen isn't your average (cup of) Joe.
Check out Allen at the 2013 Western Regional Barista Competition:
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