In March 2020, Jill Hoff, a barista at Calgary’s Monogram Coffee, won the 2020 National Barista Championship (Hoff is the first woman to take home the title). During the competition in Victoria, Hoff had 15 minutes to brew and serve 12 themed espresso drinks, including a signature drink based on her chosen theme of connecting flavour with memory.
To win the competition, Hoff used coffees from Elida Estate in Panama, a high-altitude, bird-friendly family farm surrounded by Volcan Baru National Park that has produced coffee since 1918. As Hoff served the judges, she played audio from a conversation she had with one of the producers about his memory of tasting that same type of coffee for the first time. It echoed her own. “Elida has developed a technique called anaerobic slow dry (ASD) where they ferment the coffee cherry anaerobically and then dry it for a really long time,” Hoff says. “This process intensifies the flavours – it is super fruity and juicy and so, so sweet.”