Pour Your Heart Into It: The Latte Art Throwdown
If you are a fan of specialty coffee and find yourself visiting a favorite espresso bar on a regular basis, chances are you consider the barista as part of your daily routine. You may even know their name, and there is a good chance they know yours, too. This relationship is a huge part of what makes coffee shop culture a thing.
But have you ever wondered how baristas let loose? There is this sort of subculture that exists among coffee professionals that is extremely interesting and exciting to spectate. A latte art throwdown is a coordinated competition among both professional and amateur baristas in the process in the final step of creating a latte.
Latte = espresso and steamed milk
Latte Art = a pretty design on the top of your latte, created through skillfully pouring steamed milk into the hot espresso. Common designs are hearts, tulips and rosettes.
Latte art throwdowns are most commonly set up in a bracket-style, single elimination, winner-take-all contest. Imagine basketball’s March Madness, but only for the coffee industry. The host coffee shop generally shuts down to provide the playing field. Competitors drop $5 into a hat for prize money.
A house barista is commissioned “shot master”, with the job pulling shots of espresso for each competitor to use in their creation. The emcee takes the stage to pump up the crowd, announce rules and manage the playing field. Each competitor pours their best art into the espresso, presents the result to the three judges, and awaits the countdown on …3 – 2 – 1…
Judges are looking for the best latte art. They criticize composition, symmetry, color contrast and the difficulty of the chosen pour. After the count, the cup with the most votes claims the round and winner advances on. The winner of the final round takes the crown, usually a bucket of money and some bragging rights.
Latte art throwdowns are not only fun for baristas, but also for spectators. It’s the opportunity to show your support for these fine folks outside their typical role in the service industry. Fans cheer on the competitors and create an exciting environment to perform.
As a spectator, you are telling these talented individuals you care about them and that the hard work they put in to make their job meaningful is worth it. It’s fun and you should attend if you see an event scheduled in your community.
5th Anniversary Latte Art Throwdown
Date: July 28, 2018
Time: 6:30 PM
Admission: $5 to Enter Competition, Free for Spectators
Location: Reverie Coffee Roasters/Founders Bakery 2202 E. Douglas Wichita, KS 67211
Reverie Cofee Roasters will be celebrating their 5th anniversary with a good old-fashioned latte art throwdown! Baristas will compete head-to-head creating latte art. It's free to watch and cheer on your favorite latte artist. If you'd like to compete, $5 buys you into the competition. The victor of the throwdown will be walking away with $400! There will also be door prizes and food specials.