The Latte Art Throwdown

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What a night!

Lessons learned from last night’s latte art throwdown at Joe: The Art of Coffee, a fundraiser for Red Cross disaster relief in Myanmar and China:

(1) Baristas love a good throwdown;

(2) Baristas take a throwdown seriously–many of their hands were shaking as they poured!

(3) When MC-ing such an event, it is bad to interview a barista while she’s prepping her pour (sorry Emily from 9th Street Espresso);

(4) Being a barista grants access to a secret cult of baristas; I was surprised to see the baristas from some of my favorite New York coffee shops–Gorilla, 9th Street and, of course, Joe–all know each other and like each other;

(5) It’s good to have a giant screen so the crowd can see the lattes as they’re poured and hoot and holler for the good ones…

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(6) There are many terms to describe the patterns, like the one you see above; the most common term, though, is rosetta. Perhaps because rosetta is the most common pattern?

(7) My microphone wasn’t loud enough;

(8) Most people were focused on the pouring anyway–it was intense!

(9) Alaina Browne, we know and love from A Full Belly and Serious Eats used to be a barista. Who knew?

(10) Latte art is judged in four categories, most of which I’ve forgotten. I know that one of the categories is contrast.

(11) Having a raffle is a good way to fill the gaps during a latte art throwdown.

(12) Erin Meister, who organized the event, is awesome and helped raise lots of money for an important cause:

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Thanks for letting me host it–I had a blast! [And in case you’re curious, the contest was won by “Danger” Dan. I don’t know where “Danger” Dan works, but he scored, I think, 96 points. That’s some high-scoring latte art.]

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