Fast Food 

Whistler Second Cup espresso makers going for Barista crown

Jason Ocean’s Crystal Lodge Second Cup already has a few claims to its fame. Every Tuesday night it hosts a popular open mic night for up and coming local musicians. They also support the Whistler Bike Co. Bike Team.

Ocean could soon add another claim – himself as Canada’s Ultimate Coffee Barista.

A Barista is a coffee agent proficient in preparing European coffees such as café late, cappuccino and moccaccino.

The Second Cup is staging an Ultimate Coffee Barista competition featuring a dozen of the coffee chain’s best Baristas.

"A competent Barista takes enormous pride in the quality of their drinks and in the efficiency and presentation in which they are served," says Mike Arsenault, director of marketing for Second Cup.

Ocean was selected from the staff of more than 400 café’s from coast to coast for his knowledge and skill. He himself believes that a good Barista should have "a fun personality, quick response, consistency and a flair for entertainment." His own favourite blend is Kenya State AA Dark, and his best coffee secret is to make it strong and dark "and let your personality shine through."

The competition will take place at the annual Second Cup convention in Calgary on June 4.

Government to regulate herbal remedies

With everybody and their dog taking some sort of herbal supplement these days, the Canadian Government will be putting natural health products under more stringent regulations as early as next year.

Approximately half of Canadians use herbs for health reasons, and the number of brands available is increasing exponentially to meet the demand. There is some concern that some products may be mislabeled, or boast of qualities or quantities of herbal ingredients that just aren’t there. There were no guarantees because until now there was no regulating body.

That body, which will be administrated by Health Canada, is to be called the Office of Natural Health Products. Popular herbs such as Echinacea, Gingko and St. John’s Wort will be regulated and tested.

Industry representatives are wary that testing could drive up the cost of these products, but Health Canada promised that the testing would not be too rigorous. They will test the DNA of the plants at their source to ensure seeds are of the purest strains.

Supporters of the regulatory board say that many of the brands that are currently available don’t have the necessary active ingredients to be effective – for example, there are nine varieties of Echinacea herbs, only three of which have medicinal properties.

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