This past January, Propeller Coffee Co hosted their inaugural Latte Royale--a latte art competition with the goal of bringing together the coffee community. Hosted in Propeller's stunning Wade Avenue cafe and roastery, this wild event welcomed a packed house, was made possible by lots of generous sponsors, and the proceeds went to support Food for Farmers——a NGO that works with coffee growing communities to build food security for farming families. It warms our heart to see this kind of community building in action!
We are so thankful that photographer Britney Townsend was there to volunteer her time and capture the evening in photos on our behalf. Britney is both a coffee industry pro, and a professional photographer, so along with sharing her photos today, we also asked her a few questions about her photo work and how she got into coffee. We hope you enjoy!
Oh, and if you are looking for someone to shoot your next event, or if you are need of any other photography work, you can get in touch with Britney here: http://www.britneytownsend.com/
TCC: You have a special interest in coffee—can you share with us a little bit about how you got into coffee and your journey in the Toronto Coffee scene?
Britney Townsend: I've always loved coffee culture. The beginning of the journey started when I was in high school, but I moved to Guelph, ON for university and got a job at a fantastic spot called The Red Brick Cafe. It was there that I developed a love for beans, roasts, technique, and I was able to compete in the Central Canadian Barista Competition after training with Phong Tran. I moved to Toronto about 4 years ago and immersed myself in the coffee community here. It was the only place where I immediately felt like I was home. I got a job at a cafe and we started doing weekly cuppings. We would also travel to other third wave spots in the city to meet and chat with the baristas there. I started shooting for Sprudge, volunteered with the SCA, and have attended the Canadian Barista Academy as well. There is always something going on if you have an interest in coffee, and Toronto is one of the best places to be.
TCC: You recently worked as a photograher on The Hunt City Guide to Toronto alongside journalist Ama Scriver. Can you tell us a little bit about the process of working on a city guide book? Was there anything in particular that you learned about this city that you may not have known before?
Britney Townsend: Working with Ama Scriver is always such a pleasure. The Hunt Guides was an intenste month of shoothing but Ama was able to guide me to some incredible spots in the city. We included everything—stores, restaurants, bars, parks, cafes. We made sure to include day guides and maps as well. We featured some great cafes——Arvo, Neo, Boxcar Social. It was really important that we guided our readers to spots that do coffee well and KNOW what they are selling. Ama also comes from a coffee background and some of my greatest projects for the coffee scene have been with her. You can grab our city guide here: http://thehuntguides.com/guides/toronto/
TCC: What led you to launch a career in photography?
Britney Townsend: Honestly, it's the only thing that I've always wanted to do. I can't remember a time where I didn't want to shoot. I was working for an event coverage company for years and when I went out on my own it was pretty terrifying. I am still working out the kinks of owning my own business, it's a slow process of getting set up, but I am having so much fun. You get to meet so many different types of people when you work in the arts. I wouldn't trade it for anything.
TCC: These photos which you took at the recent Latte Royal latte art throwdown at Propeller Coffee are stunning and filled with a lot of feeling. What was your experience photographing the event?
Britney Townsend: I've shot events for years, but whenever I get to mix my passion for coffee and photography I get way more excited. It was completely packed in there! In the past years, coffee events have been dominated by the same people, but Latte Royal had a ton of new faces. I'm pretty sure guests came from all over the GTA. It was great to see how much our community is growing. I'll also be shooting Beanstock in May for those of you who are looking to attend the next big coffee event. If you see me with a camera, come say hi :)
TCC: What would you like to see more of in the Toronto coffee community?
Britney Townsend: Events! More meet-ups, more tastings, more community. I've made some great friends in the Toronto Coffee scene and I would encourage anyone else with an interest to get involved. Also, awareness. Talk to your local baristas about what it is you are drinking, where it comes from, and who is growing it. Nothing is more important than knowing the source of what it is you consume.