Owner of the always-fantastic Fika Café (located in the Kensington Market in the heart of Toronto), Yadi Arifin competed at the National Barista Competition this year.
Competitors were required to prepare four espressos, four milk drinks, and four signature drinks within their 15-minute presentation recreating a hospitality experience for the mock customers (the judges).
The signature drink is one of the more interesting aspects as competitors can flex their creativity and showcase their ability to produce a unique yet delicious beverage. Yadi used the Ana Sora roasted by Pilot Coffee Roasters in his signature drink, and we chatted with him about the drink and the process behind it all.
What are you trying to accomplish with your signature drink?
"I am trying to transform the bergamot and red currant notes out of the Ana Sora to an orange caramel flavour with my signature drink. The concept is to use the signature drink to connect with the customers. Naturally processed coffees might not be for everybody, but by mixing all of the ingredients you end up with something familiar, like caramel. People are aware of what that tastes like, which helps make it approachable."
How did you come up with these ingredients for the drink?
"A lot of trial and error. In the beginning, some days I would get salted caramel and some days the same coffee misses the mark totally… I did a lot of research too, like how organic acids affect the flavor. That helps a bit, but at the end of the day, you still have to do your experiment by mixing thing up."
Ana Sora Espresso
Homemade Muscat Raisin Nectar (slow baked for a few hours at a low temperature to dehydrate the grapes and intensify their sweetness)
"I am using this as a natural sweetener instead of simple syrup, so it adds more complexity."
Rhubarb reduction (slow-cooked)
"This will transform the red currant flavours in the Ana Sora to candied orange."
Whey Liquid from Cashew Yoghurt
"The whey from the yogurt provides the caramel taste perception."
"The condensed milk is to balance it off."
Ana Sora Cold Brew
"The cold brew will round out the overall coffee flavour and add depth."
Xantham Gum Solution
"This is to mimic the syrupy texture of the espresso"