Submitted by Lizzie Midyette
Coffee is the perfect beverage to wake up with, a great reading buddy for the afternoon, and a wonderful way to end a dinner out or in with loved ones. Last weekend, coffee aficionados, business owners, and those who are simply coffee-curious attended the very well-received first annual Invermere Coffee Fest, where the Columbia Valleys thriving coffee culture was celebrated in style.
Everything from the production of coffee and our relationship as consumers with the farmers who grow the delicious beans, to brewing the perfect cup of coffee at home, and finally coffee as art medium for baristas and kids alike was explored. Workshops and events took place in several different coffee-serving establishments to celebrate the diverse fabric that Invermere has for those who appreciate a great cup of coffee.
Members of the valleys thriving food and beverage industry attended a barista skills workshop at Koffee Kweens caf on the afternoon of Friday, April 4th. 2012 Canadian Barista champion Jeremy Ho facilitated the session, where he brought his own $7,000 Italian coffee machine. Every aspect of pulling the perfect shot of espresso was discussed, with participants getting a chance to educate their tastebuds to trouble-shoot potential problems and strive towards consistency with a complicated yet delicious method of extracting coffee. Jeremy brought a sense of humour yet scientific precision to coffee culture, and attendees had the opportunity to gain valuable feedback from him as they practiced his espresso tips and tricks.
Interested individuals were treated to a tour of Kicking Horse Coffees state of the art facility on Saturday, April 5th, getting to take in the sights and listen to a highly informative presentation while sampling a cup of their finest coffee. The process of cupping a range of coffees from different growing regions as well as three of Kicking Horses blends, the coffee equivalent of a wine tasting, was the highlight of the tour for several participants, who furthered their knowledge and experience of the delicious beverage. There was a great deal of knowledge and information to take in about the relationship between consumer, the local and global environments, and the extensive network of people involved in production.
Those who are passionate about perfecting the art of home-brewed coffee were given the opportunity to tap into Jeremys expertise and ability to bring a scientific approach while soaking in the sunshine and mountain views at Eagle Ranch on Saturday, April 5th. Jeremy brings the science behind controlling variables to the company hes a part of, Calgary-based Phil and Sebastian. Participants diligently wrote down all the tips and tricks he shared, as they sampled the results of Jeremys demonstrations before trying their hand at the methods themselves.
The morning of Sunday, April 6th was the culmination of the weekends caffeinated fun with the presentation of the first annual Beanie awards, complimented by coffee and treats provided by Quality Bakery. The Best Cappucino winner was the Quality Bakery, with Stolen Church Coffee Company taking the award for Best Brewed Coffee. Eagle Ranch was deemed the Best Caf category, and Gerrys Gelati employee Kayla Luyendyk earned the award for latte art.
With the success of the inaugural event, plans are already in the works for a 2015 Invermere Coffee Fest.
– With files from Greg Amos