Small Business Gets Big Honour At Canada’s Most Elite Coffee Competition

image: Rob Kettner artfully pouring steamed milk

credit: Keri Coles Photography

from the press release

VICTORIA – Fernwood Coffee Company is enjoying national success after co-owner Rob Kettner placed first at the Canadian National Barista Championships (CNBC), held in Toronto on October 25 and 26, 2010.

The Victoria-based small business was founded just three years ago on a shoestring budget by Kettner and his business partners Ben Cram and Terra Ogawa.

“This is a huge honour,” said Kettner. “We’re still just a little company, but we work hard and coffee is our passion so to be recognized for that is amazing.”

With the help of his partners and staff members, Kettner put together a 15 minute presentation showcasing a Costa Rican coffee and beat out 14 other baristas from cafes around the country. An assembly of North American coffee professionals made up the judging panel. Kettner’s first-place win marks the first for a barista outside of the Vancouver-based Café Artigiano since the competition’s inception in 2002. It also buys him a trip to Bogota, Columbia for the World Barista Championships (WBC) in June 2011.

The self-described “coffee geeks” began hobby-roasting in 2007 before incorporating Fernwood Coffee Company in 2008. Kettner, Cram and Ogawa also own the Parsonage Café on North Park St., which at the time contained a 1936 antique Barth coffee roaster.

Now, the old roaster is gone, replaced with a sleek Diedrich roaster five times its size that sits in Fernwood Coffee Company’s roasting and tasting headquarters in the same building as the Parsonage.

Though the company sells its beans to over 60 establishments on Vancouver Island, including Thrifty Foods, their mandate is still the same as it was three years ago.

“We want to seek out new and exciting ways to roast and serve the best cup,” said head roaster Cram.  “The CNBC and now the WBC will expose us to best coffees and the best industry minds in the world, but we’re bringing all that knowledge right back to our hometown.”


Fernwood Coffee Company

Phone: 250.590.3320

Fax: 250.590.3326


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