Extracting, timing and accuracy are words usually common in a science laboratory. However, a barista will tell you all those techniques are crucial to making a great-tasting cup of joe.

Josh Hockin, who placed second in this year’s Alberta Regional Barista Competition, described the flavour processes of making specialty, espresso-based coffee similar to making craft beer or wine.

“It’s more than just a mixture of beans and water,” he said.

Hockin continued to explain that depending on where the seed was grown, and the way it was processed, roasted and brewed, you could get flavours ranging from fruity to acidic to more roasted.

His third time competing in the Barista Competition will send him off to the nationals, held in Toronto, and potentially to Bogota, Colombia, where the World Barista Championships will take place.

“We have these competitions to showcase the flavours of coffee and to bring people in and grow awareness of specialty coffee,” said Hockin.

A barista who holds the world title will be an ambassador to the world for specialty coffees and pave the way for other baristas to be recognized as having a skill set beyond pushing a button.