barista making a hot drink of coffee or tea for a competition at a local espresso bar in st thomas ontario

Streamliners Espresso Bar was packed on Sunday afternoon for St. Thomas’s very first barista competition as part of the Culture Days event that took place September 28–30. Four competitors, all baristas at Streamliners, took their turn making an espresso drink, a milk drink, and a specialty drink for three judges to sample. As per official barista competition guidelines, baristas kept the crowd and judges engaged with an ongoing explanation of what they were doing and why. Scores were made based on taste, beverage presentation, barista technique, and personal presentation.

barista wearing an apron making espresso shots for a competition in st thomas ontario

Barista competitions are a fairly new event, with the first taking place in Monte Carlo in 2000. Every year, the World Barista Championship is hosted in a different city and “focuses on promoting excellence in coffee, advancing the barista profession, and engaging a worldwide audience.”

iced coffee drink in old fashioned mason jar mug on counter

St. Thomas was able to contribute its own flavour to this worldwide series of events because of the efforts of Streamliners owners, Maria Fiallos and Stacey Hayhoe. Streamliners has become a hub for many free community events, such as open mic and music nights. As the first competitor, Jess Andrews, comments about her time working at Streamliners, “What I’ve noticed happening is a sense of community. Through our love of coffee, we’re building community.”

barista making steamed milk for a drink in competition in st thomas ontario

Culture Days invites the public to participate behind the scenes to discover the world of artists and creators. The OnBeat Barista competition was a testament to the fact that baristas truly fit into the category of artists and creators.

This championship crown went to Jessica; but all the participants (Rachael, Troy, and Mae) were strong contenders. We look forward to seeing more barista championships being held at Streamliners in the future.