Barista Battle: What's a Latte Art Throwdown?
If you spend time sitting at the bar at Boomtown, you may hear one of our baristas talking about an upcoming throwdown.
These throwdowns are gatherings of coffee professionals to compete to make the best latte art designs. They’re often conducted in single-elimination rounds where baristas go one-on-one to pour the best latte art they can. Three judges — usually coffee company owners, past champions, or someone from the host shop — choose on the count of three their favorite pour. Winner moves up the bracket, loser is out for the night.
Throwdowns are fascinating.
They showcase the amazing microcosm that is specialty coffee — a collective “OHHH” reverberates among the audience when a drink is spilled, hands that are usually steady from pouring hundreds of drinks a day suddenly begin to visibly shake, and people wait in bated breath for judge rulings. In an industry that’s centered around serving guests, sometimes it’s fun to test your skills and fuel some competitive spirit. Camaraderie builds quickly when you’re surrounded by like-minded people, competing in a skill that most people will never even get to try. And, even for beginner latte artists, these events are a great way to meet peers and even gain inspiration to practice harder and become competitive. For the best of the best, there’s even a more formalized circuit consisting of the Latte Art World Championship Open events.
Below is a short video we made a while back at Siphon Coffee’s last throwdown, along with some photos from the archives. Hopefully we’ll be able to host another throwdown soon!