According to Sprudge, these things have been going down for ten years now. Our roastery in Santa Cruz recently held its 2nd Annual Latte Art Throwdown. But we didn’t want this to be just another Latte Art Throwdown - we wanted it to be one for the books! So we called our friends around the coffee community to snag some gifts and party supplies. We brought in a food truck (@ate3one). We pulled out the ping-pong table. Basically, we gathered the necessities and after weeks of preparation, we opened the doors to anyone and everyone who wanted to come. Baristas and coffee lovers from all around the Bay Area responded. We were stoked!
After some time to chow on some fish tacos and figure out who none of us wanted to compete against, we were under way when the clock struck 6:30 P.M. For the spectators, there was no shortage of hype. The contestants had a bit more going on - they were surrounded by some of the most distinguished baristas within miles. If anyone has been to a throwdown before, they know the mix of anxiety and enthusiasm is palpable. After several rounds, rosettas after tulips, after triple-rosettas, our hearts were racing and our hairs were graying. Have you ever watched The Fast and The Furious? Yeah, every round felt like a scene taken straight out of those movies. It was awesome. Around 9 P.M. over thirty challengers had been eliminated, eventually leaving us with only three. The first place winner was Ryan Guiso (@ryanguiso), who is currently a barista at our very own cafe in San Francisco, CA. The podium also included Colin Marley of The Abbey (2nd Place, @marleyman) and Marc Gessler of Cat and Cloud Coffee (3rd Place, @markymarc_gess). To honor their talents we got our hands on some awesome prizes including custom Chris King tampers, a Bonavita Coffee Brewer, an Acaia Pearl scale spark edition, amazing prints and pins from Department of Brewology, and some awesome Espresso Parts swag. Local tattoo shop FU Tattoo donated some gift cards and one of their very own artists Nick Vargas (@nickvarg77) donated some cool coffee prints. It was Jose of Corral Made’s second year donating and this year he made custom waxed canvas aprons for all three winners. - enough to cause some major jealousy from their coffee-loving peers (including ourselves).
Perhaps some time ago the idea seemed foolish that we could make art with coffee and use it to compete against one another. But here we are, changing the game day after day and loving it. We were amped on this throwdown, and we’re stoked to keep their spirit alive. We plan on hosting more of these parties in the future, and we hope to see you there.
Written by Nicholas Landon // Barista
Head Roaster Devin Eiring was our barista for the event for the second year in a row.
Parker and Slim… is there more to be said?
Seabright cafe manager, Garret Spindler (G-Spin), sampling food from Ate3One.
Emmeline Wang sets down her pour for a judge's round of fun. Emmeline competed in our first competition and this time around she was a judge.
Naida Lindberg (1010 Fair Cafe Manager) sips on some brewed coffee while everyone awaits the competition to begin.
Ate3one food truck came by to fuel our hungry competitors.
Photobooths are a necessity at events like these. Check out more pictures here. Password: event12345
The winners from left to right: First Place - Ryan Guiso (@ryanguiso) of Verve Coffee SF, CA. Second Place - Colin Marley of The Abbey (@marleyman) Third Place - Marc Gessler of Cat and Cloud Coffee (@markymarc_gess).
Jose of Corral Made handcrafted these amazing, one of a kind aprons to be a part of the prize baskets for each winner. Now they are all serving drinks in style.
Throwdown dice with original wood burn art by the head of the event and Pacific Avenue manager Jessica Groza.
Our really great buds from FU Tattoo donated three gift cards to our winners. They have talented artists and they love coffee just as much as we do. Check them out!
Chris King upped the ante this year by laser etching original art by Jessica Groza onto our commemorative tampers. We love working with like minded companies and these tampers are so comfortable you’ll be finding excuses just to use it. You can check out more colors here.
Senior Roaster Tyler Zaiss models this year's throwdown shirt designed by Jessica Groza (Pac Ave. cafe manager and throwdown event planner).
Nick Vargas (@nickvarg77) of FU Tattoo donated prints for the second year in a row. He is an amazing artist, father and even likes to roast his own coffee when he’s not frequenting our cafes. You can find him on Instagram to check out more of his awesome work.
We believe the coffee experience is our responsibility from seed to cup. Coffee is our craft, our ritual, our passion. It drives us and inspires us. With this simple truth and responsibility we are bridging the gap from farmlevel to streetlevel. We are verve. Made in santa cruz.