A note from Pat Russell, 2010 Canadian Cup Tasters Champion

September 13, 2011 - Leave a Response

Want a chance to cup coffees that you don’t get to taste every day? Do you like the idea of meeting and mingling with coffee aficionados, roasters, cuppers, retailers, and baristas from all over the world? Have you ever dreamt of competing for your country on the World stage?

If you answered yes any of those three questions, then you should consider registering to compete in the 2011 Canadian Cup Tasters Championship.

In 2011 I, with shaking spoon in hand, competed in my first Cup Tasters Championship. At its simplest this competition is really about finding the odd cup. “One of these things is not like the other,” becomes the mantra as cuppers use their eyes, nose, and taste buds to examine each cup and attempt to break each triangle in the quickest time possible. The crowd at the Canadian Cup Tasters Championship was engaged and rowdy, the competitors were strong cuppers and many were notable Canadian coffee personalities… and I was nervous. My coffee literally danced in my spoon as I tried to slurp each and every cup. At the end of the day, I was fortunate, and I broke enough triangles in the fastest time in qualifying and in the finals, to earn the right to represent Canada at the World Cup Tasters Championship in Maastricht, The Netherlands.

The World Championship was a crazy event. In June 2011, 34 countries were represented in head-to-head cup tasting. The qualifying round paired four competitors off against each other, and against the scores and times of those competitors who had gone before. Every round of the event was live streamed over the internet, and there were generally 50 to 100 people cheering on the competitors. In the qualifying round no cupper was able to score 8/8 triangles broken, and all 8 semi-finalists scored 7/8 to pass into the second round. The triangles became progressively harder, as coffees with very similar flavour characteristics were paired in triangle.

The skill of the 34 cuppers was amazing, some of these competitors had competed against more than 50 others in their National Championship events to earn the right to compete in Maastricht. For me, the real value in the event was being able to learn more about how specialty coffee is acquired, produced and consumed in Europe. The market is entirely different, and the networking and opportunity to share knowledge and information was invaluable. The fact that I was able to wear the maple leaf, and compete for Canada while doing this was just icing on the cake.

The 2012 SCAE Event and World Cup Tasters Championship takes place in Vienna, Austria, and will run alongside the 2012 World Barista Championship, the World Brewers Cup and the World Cezve/Ibrik World Cup. This will be the specialty coffee event of the year in 2012. If you’re a Canadian coffee enthusiast — professional or amateur — and would like to get more connected to the national and international specialty coffee community, I would encourage you to register for the Canadian Cup Tasters Championship.

Pat Russell is the 2010 Canadian Cup Tasters Champion, Licensed Q Grader and Coffee Expert for The Second Cup Ltd.

The Canadian Cup Tasters Championship

Register to compete.


2011 Canadian Cup Tasters Championship Registration is open!

September 2, 2011 - Leave a Response

Well, the inaugural year for the Canadian Cup Tasters Championship was I think by all accounts an unbridled success in 2010 in Toronto. You can read Mark Prince’s two blog posts to get a sense of what the 2010 competition was like.

So we are of course back for another year in 2011!

Register for the 2011 competition here.

The 2011 Canadian Cup Tasters Championship will take place on the demo stage at the Canadian Coffee & Tea show in Vancouver. Round one happens at 3:30 – 5:00 pm on Sunday, October 2, 2011. The finals round will be held at 3:00 pm on Monday October 3, 2011.

Only 16 competitors will be accepted. All competitors must also register to attend the Canadian Coffee & Tea Show.

Prizes announced

September 7, 2010 - Leave a Response

We’ve confirmed the prizes for the top competitors at the Canadian Cup Tasters Championships. Here they are:

First place: 12-month coffee subscription from Square Mile Coffee Roasters and a Technivorm Moccamaster from Transcend Coffee.

Second place: 6-month coffee subscription, a Hario V60 and Hario Buono Kettle from Transcend Coffee.

Third place: 6-month coffee subscription from Transcend Coffee.

So there you have it. Some serious gear and goodies to encourage the  competitors to start practicing and bring their A game.

Call for volunteers!

August 27, 2010 - Leave a Response

This is the first year we are running the Canadian Cup Tasters Championship at the Canadian Coffee and Tea show, and we need your help to pull it off. Volunteering will entail mostly setting up, very carefully brewing coffee and preparing bowls of coffee for the competitors and cleaning up.

Canadian Coffee & Tea show in Toronto. Volunteers will be needed from 1:30 – 5:00 pm on Sunday, September 26, and from 2:00 to 4:30 pm Monday September 27.

There will be goodies and prizes for the volunteers, not to mention the adoration and thanks of your fellow coffee colleagues.

Register as a Volunteer

To register as a volunteer, please email james@transcendcoffee.com with your name and contact info and any questions you may have about the event.

All volunteers must also register to attend the Canadian Coffee & Tea Show.

List of Competitors

August 26, 2010 - Leave a Response

It only took a couple of days to fill all the spots for the competition, and we even added four extra spots! This is going to be an exciting event.

Check out the list of competitors below. There are some heavy hitters in Canadian coffee there! The level of competition is going to be intense, and we couldn’t be happier with the response to the call for competitors.

Amber Fox – Ecco Caffe

Andrea Piccolo – Swiss Water Decaf

Barrett Jones

Ben Cram – Fernwood Coffee Company

Geoff Polci – Crema Coffee Co.

Jean-François Leduc – Saint-Henri micro-roaster

Joaquin Quian – Fratello Coffee

Laura Perry – Bridgehead Coffee

Lisa Rotenberg – rocketfuelcoffee.com

Mark Prince – CoffeeGeek.com

Matthew Lee – Manic Coffee

Pat Russell – Second Cup

Peter Burbridge – Java Blend Coffee Roasters

Sammy Piccolo – sammypiccolo.com

Steve Souphanthong – Social Coffee & Tea Company

Thiago Trovo – Te Aro Roasted

Registration is open!

August 16, 2010 - Leave a Response

You can now officially register to compete in the Canadian Cup Tasters Championship. Just head over to the registration page on Transcend Coffee’s website. Once you purchase the registration, you’re in and you’ll be one of the twelve palate warriors that will clash cupping spoons in an epic battle of senses, perception and memory.

Also, check out the about page for a little more info on how the event will run.

The Canadian Cup Tasters Championship is set!

August 11, 2010 - 2 Responses

That’s right, everything is set for the first truly Canadian Cup Tasters Championship. Yes it’s true there have been groups of Canadians who have got together and tasted coffee in a competitive fashion, but it has always been at the SCAA, in the USA, so it wasn’t really fully and completely Canadian. Until now.

September 26 and 27, at the Canadian Coffee Tea and Show, in Toronto, Transcend Coffee will present the first annual Canadian Cup Championship.

We’ll be looking for 12 competitors as well as volunteers to make this inaugural event a success. Registration will open very shortly and is expected to fill soon, so please keep your eyes peeled for more information.

This is truly exciting. More information will be flowing shortly.