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Sask. barista prepares to roast competitors at national coffee competition


A competitor from Saskatoon is heading to Vancouver for a competition that promises to be quite the grind.

Local barista Taliya Luo-Tatebe beat out a field of challengers from Manitoba, northern Alberta and Saskatchewan, but she’s not sure if the national competition will be a tall order.

If you happen to visit the Starbucks on 8th Street, it may seem like a regular coffee shop, but behind the bar you’ll see a championship barista in action.

Tatebe fell in love with coffee four years ago at the same Starbucks, and she’s become exceptional in her field.

“I love creating coffee for people every day. I love that that’s my job and the customer connection part is also amazing,” she told CTV News.

For her, being a barista is not a grind at all, in fact, she even takes her job home with her — admitting she makes coffees for friends and family outside of work because she enjoys it.

“You know when people make their hobby a career, that it sometimes ruins it, I was afraid of that, but it hasn’t at all. It’s made it better,” she said.

She beat out about twenty competitors in a regionals competition, and now she’s off to Vancouver on Thursday representing Manitoba, Saskatchewan and northern Alberta.

“Saskatoon represents. We’re so proud,” Starbucks manager Kirstin Hansen told CTV News.

“She’s extremely talented she’s so good at what she does. She’s a hot commodity to have at this location,” she said.

We’re so proud,” Starbucks manager Kirstin Hansen tells CTV News. (Carla Shynkaruk / CTV News)

The signature drink Luo-Tatebe will make for judges is her double tall, blonde cinnamon dolce latte, half-sweet with almond milk, no whip and cinnamon powder.

The drink was inspired by a regular order of one of her customers.

Who’s the projected favourite, according to staff at her location?

“Her. Her versus three competitors. She already beat 10 in our district and 11 in the other area. She can beat three in the regionals and she’ll crush it,” Hansen said.

The four contestants will also be tested on their Starbucks knowledge, something that Luo-Tatebe has been studying up on a lot — so she’s ready to win.

“I know a lot about our origins. The countries where we get the beans, the roasting and washing process. All the behind-the-scenes stuff which fuels the passion for it,” she said.

If she wins this week, then she would head to the North American level in June in Seattle and then possibly worlds in Costa Rica next year.

She has another side job as a videographer, but she sees her barista role continuing to brew for years to come. Top Stories

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