The best baristas in the Valley will compete Thursday for a cash pot and bragging rights at the first Thursday Night Throwdown hosted at The Bookworm of Edwards. Perfectly formed hearts, tulips and rosettas made by pouring steamed milk into a double shot of espresso is the goal in this friendly competition.
Hosted nationally, a Thursday Night Throwdown, or TNT, is a head-to-head, bracket-style free pour latte art competition. Competitors buy in for $5 and the winner takes the pot. Signups are going on now by emailing Bookworm co-owner Kristi Feichtinger at Kristi@bookwormofedwards.com or at the door from 6 to 6:30 p.m.
The event is sponsored by Novo Coffee, KZYR The Zephyr, Crazy Mountain Brewery, and Full Spectrum Distribution. Admission is free for spectators and there will be $2 Crazy Mountain beer specials from 6 to 9 p.m.
Perfect pours to win
Consistent latte art poses challenges due to the demanding conditions required of the espresso shot and steamed milk. Each artist receives a 10-ounce mug with two shots of espresso and then has to create a contrast design by moving the milk pitcher during the pour. There will be a designated person to pull shots and each competing barista will steam their own milk for the pour.
Three judges will evaluate each set of two competitors based on balance and symmetry; color infusion and definition of the design; use of space in the cup; and overall impression. One barista will advance from each head to head match to the next round until we reach a winner. Prizes will also be afforded to second and third place.
Dakota Smith of Yeti's Grind will compete. Smith is no stranger to latte art competitions and says success is about "sticking to what you know."
So how did he get started? "It's the best way to feed a caffeine addiction and meet lots of cool people," said Smith, who cites the Cortado, an espresso cut with a small amount of warm milk, as his favorite caffeinated drink.
Kent Kingrey of The Bookworm of Edwards will also participate. Kingrey said an "attention to detail and consistency" are they key ingredients to winning latte art.
His favorite espresso drink is a mocha, which is espresso, steamed milk and chocolate sauce.