The Latte Art Throwdown

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…



(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:


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.]

6 thoughts on “The Latte Art Throwdown”

  1. Hi Adam,

    “Danger” Dan Griffin works at Cafe El Beit in Williamsburg.

    Rosettas are most common, but there are also hearts and tulips, and less common, vibrating hearts and fire-breathing dragons.

    I never remember the judging criterium either.

    Also, it’s a little known fact that latte art throwdowns are fueled by alcohol.

    It was nice seeing you yesterday!

  2. It amazes me what some baristas can do! What a fun time. Thanks for sharing, Adam.

    ps. When are you going to sing again? That was so much fun! :)

  3. I’m so mad I missed this! I need to get back to checking the site daily =). Looks like it was a lot of fun!

  4. sounds like you had an awesome time! I still need to try Joe: Art of Coffee…this just adds more incentive.

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