This past Saturday I was a judge for Andaz Hotel’s Feast, Revel + Grind Barista Invitational. Andaz is a boutique hotel in the heart of the Byward Market. This event was co-hosted with Equator Coffee and brought local baristas to compete in 3 rounds: signature warm drink, signature cold drink and signature milk beverage. The competition was a great creative outlet to celebrate the coffee and talented Baristas. It was great hear the inspiration behind each barista’s drink and why they chose that one to showcase. We also got to see the process behind creating each drink including special techniques and ingredients.

Guests  enjoyed complimentary Equator Coffee and coffee-inspired treats from the Feast + Revel pastry shop during the competition. The menu consisted of some creative baked goods like matcha green tea and white chocolate muffin, espresso chocolate brownies, snickerdoodle with coffee buttercream and more!

Andaz Barista Competition
Feast + Revel Pastries. Photo by Andaz

Chef Stephen La Salle of Feast + Revel was a great host, with plenty of puns to make the crowd laugh like “espresso yourself”.

Andaz Barista Competition
MC for the competition, Stephen La Salle, Chef of Feast + Revel. Photo by Andaz

The talented Barista’s that participated in the competition were:

Zachary Pantalone from LaBottega Nicastro

Micayla Bussieres from Bar Robo

Creggan Daubeny from Origin Trade

Tony Nguyen from Planet Coffee

Emmett Savage from Feast + Revel

Andaz Barista Competition
The competitions baristas. Photo by Andaz

Judging the competition was myself, Sarah Jennings from the Byward Market BIA and Chris Petrie from Equator Coffee. I was excited to see the creations the Baristas had in store and the interesting ingredients they would bring to the table.

Each drink was given ratings based on delivery, technique, presentation, functionality, creativity, taste balance and the accuracy of flavor descriptors.

Andaz Barista Competition

Round 1: Signature Warm Drink

Tony was up first making Planet Coffee’s Pumpkin Spice Latte. It is made with real pumpkin puree. He also included an extra ingredient to spice things up, sriracha sauce!

Next Emmett made a machiato. Creggan made a chai latte. Micayla made a cardamom maple dry cappucino.

Andaz Barista Competition
Micayla’s Cardamom Maple Dry Cappucino. Photo by Andaz

Zachary made a pistachio nutmeg latte. It was a unique take on the traditional latte by adding crema di pistachio.  I loved the unique taste of his creation. It was a delicious take on the traditional latte and was perfectly balanced.

Andaz Barista Competition
Zachary’s Pistachio Nutmeg Latte. Photo by Andaz

Round 2: Signature Cold Drink

Tony was up first and made an iced mocha.

Andaz Barista Competition
Tony making an iced mocha. Photo by Andaz

Emmett’s creation included espresso, orange zest and Michael’s Dolce ghost pepper syrup! To finish things off he micro-grated a coffee bean on top. It was an interesting mix of ingredients that all worked so well together.  The ghost pepper syrup gave it a nice kick while the orange zest kept it sweet. Major points for creativity.

Andaz Barista Competition
Emmett’s signature cold beverage. Photo by Andaz

Creggan made an iced chai latte. Zachary made an iced Turkish coffee.

Mikayla made an almond milk iced latte. Her creation included espresso, lavender syrup, chamoile syrup, almond milk, ice and fresh lavender as garnish.  I loved the sphere-shaped ice to add to its presentation. This drink tasted as good as it looks.

Andaz Barista Competition
Micayla’s Floral Almond Milk Iced Latte. Photo by Andaz

Round 3: Signature Milk Beverage

The third and final round tested each barista on their latte art and see the cool designs they could make. My favourite was Creggan’s cute heart design.

Andaz Barista Competition
Cregan’s latte art. Photo by Andaz

And the winner is….

Andaz Barista Competition
Photo by Andaz

It was a close battle but Zachary from La Bottega took home the prize. He had the highest tallied score for the competition across all rounds. He did great across the board for all judging criteria with his pistachio infused latte, Turksih coffee and latter art! He won dinner for four to Feast + Revel.

Andaz Barista Competition
Winner of the Barista Competition: Zachary Pantalone of La Bottega Nicastro. Photo by Andaz

All the baristas did an amazing job. Visit them at their coffee shops to try some of these creations for yourself.

Also worth checking out is the host of the competition, Feast + Revel. This spot is all about eating, drinking and having a good time. It’s open 3 meals a day, 7 days a week. You’ll be able to taste some delicious Canadian cuisine focusing on local, organic ingredients.

Ps. Check out my article here about Andaz and why you need to visit their rooftop bar.

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