Monday, December 14, 2009

Attention all Barista Competitors!!

For those of you who are competing in the South Central Regional Barista Championship, I have good news. On December 19th starting at 10 am, Caffe Medici at 2222b Guadalupe St will be setting up a mock competition stage and is inviting EVERYONE in the area to come and run through their routines, however finished or unfinished they may be.

Dan Streetman, a USBC certified head judge, will be acting Head Judge. He has been a judge on the USBC circuit for the past two years, judging in four regionals and two national competitions. Dan is also on the USBC Committee and can answer any and all questions you have about rules, regulations, scoring, etc. Your fellow competitors will be your tech and sensory judges. This will give everyone a better understanding of both sides of the table, how to perform, and what to look for in your own performance.

Caffe Medici will be providing everything that the USBC will provide, grinders, tables, espresso machine (La Marzocco, we don't have the Nuova Simonelli), and you will be asked to bring everything else that you will be using in your routine. This is a great opportunity to do a run through in front of a crowd, and hopefully everyone will beneift from this. January is promising a great SCRBC, and we are excited to be a part of it.

If you have any questions about this event, please email me at SaturdayNightSmackdown@gmail.com. For questions reguarding the regional and national championsips, please visit http://www.usbaristachampionship.org/southcentral/. I hope to see a lot of y'all come out to this "jam" of sorts, there will probably not be a latte art throwdown, as we will be putting most of our focus and time into creating better baristas through competition training.

Rock.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Edible Austin: Drink Local Coffee

December 6th was a fantastic time. Nine roasters & cafes set up, in spite of the rain, to strut their stuff to foodies, coffeegeeks, and localvores alike. Caffe Medici set up their GS/3 serving espressos and cappuccinos, Cuvee Coffee was french pressing their hearts out, Kohana Coffee was spreading the Hawaiin goodnes, Austin Java pressed up some love, Little City poured it old skool, Texas Coffee Traders set up a baby Faema, Brown Coffee Company was introducing the newbies to the world of Chemex, & Owl Tree graciously hosted us all under one roof, sharing the coffee love.

Now, we baristas get together across company lines on a semi-regular basis, but to see all of the roasters together was something else. Sharing tips and techniques, swapping bags of coffee, networking, and occasionally high fiving. I hope this starts a beautiful trend.

David Alan, of the Tipsy Texans, with the help of Edible Austin, put this event together and also helped to judge the Latte Art Throwdown along with Jenee Ovitt of Once Over Coffee Bar, and Jodi Bart of Tasty Touring. All three were intensely studying each drink that was presented them, conferring secretively, scribbling notes, and having a great time.

Baristas from around the city, and even as far away as Dallas, came to show their skills that pay the bills. With cup size and pour up to the individual baristas, the judges were amazed by the variety of designs. Jon Meadows of White Rock Coffee in Dallas took third with a rosetta, Tyler Wells from Frank took second with a rosetta in a 5 oz Gibraltar, and Dan Streetman of Cuvee Coffee taking top honors with his signature six-tiered tulip. Thanks to everyone who came out to compete, you who came to serve their coffee, and those of you who came to drink it. This is only the beginning.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Commence the Drinking!

Alright y'all, the Saturday Night Smackdown is up and running once again. Sunday December 6th from 11 AM to 2 PM at Owl Tree (click for directions) is the first part of Edible Austin's Drink Local Day, part of the week long celebration known to us as Eat Local Week. (To those of you who caught it, yes, the SNS is now on a Sunday) Around a dozen roasters from in and around Austin will be there, set up with booths, tents, beans, and all sorts of crazy shit to show off to you and other onlookers exactly what it is they do.

David Allan is putting this together with Edible Austin, and he will be judging a cocktail contest later on that evening (we should all go to that too!). David is a cool guy and he makes yummy booze stuff, hi five him if you see him at the event.

The pour off will be back to a standard Smackdown pour off - you choose the cup, you choose the pour, ONE PITCHER ONE POUR!!!! $10 buy in, winner will take ALL. Now, this event is an open invite to anyone across our great state (Texas, you dolt!) HOWEVER, the top ten AUSTIN competitors will go on to represent our fair city in Texas' first ever City VS City throwdown: ATX v. ATL. (Brainchild of Scott Lucey, actualized by yours truly) It's gonna be awesome. So bring your game, bring your face, but most importantly, pour your face off!

Rock.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

An Interesting Time of Year

Holiday season is upon us. Last months throwdown couldn't be held on a Saturday, as it fell on Halloween so we held it the day before. This month it appears to fall a few days after Thanksgiving, and December seems to present the same dilema.

With that in mind, the next throwdown will be scheduled in conjuction with the Drink Local event held at Owl Tree Roasting and sponsored by Edible Austin. Dave Allen of Tipsy Texan fame is the coordinator of the event, and from what I've heard it will be held on December 6th. Go ahead and mark your calendars, because we're working on some really fun ideas that should get those little coffee brains churning.

Throwdown in H-Town

The last throwdown in Texas was held in Houston over Halloween weeekend as a benefit for CoffeeKids, an excellent charity that provides educational grants to children of coffee farmers. All totaled, we raised over $2500 for this charity. Not too shabby for the first fundraiser for CoffeeKids ever held in Texas. What can I say, Texans have big hearts.

A huge thank you to Dave from Tuscany Coffee, Max and Sean from Catalina, and JR from Coffee Groundz for putting this whole show together. I don't have any pictures (yet) but I do have the top three latte artists.

Jon Meadows from White Rock Coffee took third.

Fabio, a home barista and photographer took second.

And Dan Streetman of Cuvee Coffee took first. A second win for Dan . . . looks like we might have a streak on our hands.

Yours truly also poured, but decided to drink my latte before handing it to the judges. It was tasty. That is all.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

blindfolded latte art competition.

from the september smackdown.
told in pictures because they are easier than words!

we had three esteemable judges:
cavason
cavason sutton

august winner tyler wells:
tyler wells

and juan. he's awesome:
juan

some nice people showed up.
like clancy rose and patrick hallett:
patrick hallett and clancy rose
cameron. did you know he makes awesome movies?
cameron burr
andy pants, but he had to be there. the bosses required it.
andy fredericks
justin, from medici. he doesn't like having his picture taken.
justin
and some sweet folks from flipnotics came, too.
lisa and elliott!
5382_20090926
the nice guys from white rock coffee:
5339_20090926
5338_20090926
meg, wife of douglas from waterfalls.
5351_20090926

and many more:


and shortly after the photographer's camera died,
first place went to dan streetman and clancy rose of cuvée coffee:
first place
and second place went cameron burr and ryan van eck, from caffé medici:
second place
and third place went to jen hellow (that's me!) and jenée ovitt of once over coffee bar:
5373_20090926

and then dan streetman told us a joke:


so much fun, you guys! many many many thanks to rob and jenée from once over for being delightful hosts.

much affection:
jen hellow

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

October News on the Status of the Smackdown

Hey everyone,

I know this hasn't been updated in a while, but I managed to pry myself away from my beautiful La Marzocco for a moment and I'm back on the computer.

Word on the street is that the blind folded tag team awesomeness that was the Smackdown at Once Over Coffee Bar was a huge success. An update from barista/photographer/all around awesome chick Jen Hellow will be coming soon.

If any of you have looked at your calenders recently you will have noticed that the schedule for this months Smackdown falls squarely on Halloween. Hmm. Now, I love coffee as much as the next person, but I don't want to miss stuff like this. So the Smackdown is officially-unofficially on the move for October.

A good friend and great barista Dave from Tuscany Coffee in Houston has put together an awesome latte art throwdown for charity on Friday, October 30. It's going to be lots of fun, and some sweet prizes have been donated, AND it all goes to benefit an amazing coffee charity. Below is a little info on the event and a link to Dave's blog for some more details and directions. I hope that all of you can make the drive to Houston to support a great cause, pour some sick lattes, and have a great time.

Rock.

Charity Latte Art Throwdown

Charity Event Details

Coffee Kids helps children of farmers go to school rather than work on the family farm.This event will help raise money to Coffee Kids by donating all cash raised from the function to Coffeekids.org! Even Coffeegroundz has committed a portion of the sales from the night to go towards Coffee Kids.Sponsors of the event will be listed as generous donors to Coffee Kids as well as be displayed at the event in levels of donation. Door prizes and competitor prizes will also be donated by charitable companies. Every ticket sold will have a name written on the back. After the event we will compose an email to Coffee Kids displaying all names of ticket donors!If you know of any companies who would love to make a charitable donation, please email me at tuscanycoffee@gmail.com

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

september smackdown:

is comin' at you september 26!

jen from once over here, helping lorenzo out while he's all busy making up and trying out awesome ideas for medici notte. the nerve of some people...

the august smackdown was super, with mike mckim from cuvée coffee telling us about trips from brazil and peru. tyler wells, from jp's and now frank. and apparently everywhere else. silence huang and rob ovitt came in second and third, respectively.

in reverse order:
rob ovitt, once over coffee bar:
5142_20090829

silence huang, international coffee superstar:
5134_20090829

and tyler wells, jp's java & two (three?) time smackdown winner:
5149_20090829


the september smackdown starts at 6:30 with a who the hell are you? mandatory meet and greet, followed by the blindfolded latte "art" throwdown.
that's right, watch this video, find yourself a partner, and try it out.

it's gonna be fun, kids.
i'm pretty sure it's also the last one for the next few months it is still happening every month, so come on out, make new friends, and prove to us that throwing down blindfolded is easier than it looks.



see ya soon,
jen

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Flier for this Saturday

Print this and post it all over town. NOW!







Saturday, August 15, 2009

Smackdown is on the move!

This months SNS will be held at Clementine, over on the east side. Chris Cusack is heading up all of the planning from their end, and yours truly is simply supplying data sharing.

A few change-ups (actually, the change-up would be if we kept it the same . . . what can I say, we like to keep things interesting) are in store for everyone this Saturday. We will have THREE, that's right, THREE different latte art throwdowns. Single Rosetta in an 8 oz, Double Rosetta in a 12 oz, and an unofficial "Show Me What You GOT!" best design in a cup of your choice. Same $10 buy in, winner takes all. And yes, ladies and gentlemen, you can enter all three throwdowns. That means the chance to win the largest throwdown pot that Austin has ever seen!

Mike McKim of Cuvee Coffee will be answering some questions from Chris Cusack about his latest trips to origin, Peru and Brazil, as well as taking audience questions at the end.

We've got some live DJ's throwing down some awesome beats, great beer on tap (it is at Clementine after all), and the chance to learn someting about coffee while showing off your sick latte art skills. Be there, or be . . . you know what, just be there. 6pm Saturday 28 at Clementine Coffee. 2200 Manor Rd, Austin, TX 78722.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Holy Shit . . .

I'm speechless . . .



And I thought I was the only one who enjoyed Tabasco and Sausage Lattes.

Watch his other videos at his YouTube page.

Monday, July 27, 2009

One more under the belt

This months theme was the tulip. Ah, the dreaded tulip. The bastard cousin to the heavily favored rosetta. Well, it's family reunion time, and yes you do have to be there. Just don't say anything about Aunt Edna's fruitcake . . . As usual the competitors had three minutes,ten dollars, and one pitcher of milk with which to take it all. Third place went to . . .


Johnathan Meadows of Alliance World Coffee/White Rock Coffee



Second Place finisher Dan Streetman of Cuvee Coffee



and First Place went to Sean Marshal of Fusion Beans/Catalina Coffee



As this months SNS came to a close, I left feeling strangely satisfied. I didn't win, I didn't compete, and Sean Marshall didn't bribe me with half the winnings. What was it about that night that left me with a little smile on my face?

It could have been the beer, graciously provided in part by Clementine, (thanks Chris) but I have a feeling that it went much deeper. That's what she said.

Bottom line, seeing this community grow has been pretty amazing. In 2007, John Johnson was putting together the Texas Coffee Think Tank, a brilliant idea that fizzled because there was no real support system, no team, and a much smaller community. Flash forward two years later, and a community has sprung up, willing to work together to make something beautiful happen. People from San Antonio to Dallas to Houston and here in Austin all make this event happen. And it happens every month! I'm still amazed by the passion of the baristas who turn out to this event, and it keeps getting better and better.

Last month, as I was in Dallas the Smackdown followed me there and we discovered a blossoming coffee scene waiting and wanting to be. It just shows that all over this state (yes, even in YOUR town) there are like minded people who want to have a great time, learn something new, and build a community. And not one based on competition and rivalry, but on camaraderie and a serious love for coffee. What Dan said at the beginning is absolutely true, if you have passion and share it with others it is highly contagious. Thanks for letting me catch yours.

(that's what she said)

Rock.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bring It On . . . Again

Just putting the word out on the street, officially, that the next Smackdown is on for July 25 at 6:00 pm at Medici Guadalupe. Last month was a nice change of scenery, for Dallas, but I'm glad to be bringing it back home. In the future, SNS will hopefully be making some rounds around town . . . more on that one later.

Dan Streetman, United States Barista Championship Head Judge and Barista Guild of America South Central Regional Chapter Representative, will be facilitating a discussion on what it means to be a barista, what the role of a barista is and should be, as well as the place of the barista within the larger coffee community. The talk could be titled, "Barista, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the 4 M's". I can't promise revolution, but I can promise some awesomeness.

As usual, they educational portion will be followed by a Latte Art Throwdown, in the usaully style . . . with milk and espresso. The theme for this months pour will be seven ounce TULIPS! The point of these theme pours are to challenge baristas to perfect and extend their repetoire, furthering the craft and artisanship fo the barista. So, time to start practising those tulips. Below is a video of how to pour a tulip. See y'all on the 25th.

Rock.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Dallas Breakdown

I'm back in Austin after an amazing barista jam in Dallas. Everything was pretty phenomenal, and we'll have some pictures to post on the Flickr page pretty soon. Heather Perry gave a wonderful "how-to" on basic espresso and milk steaming techniques, as well as encouraging everyone to join the Barista Guild of America. For more information on the BGA, contact our local chapter representative Dan Streetman at dan@cuveecoffee.com.

More than fifty people turned out to show everyone what Dallas was all about, and the support and enthusiasm from the baristas was astonishing. Dallas is starting the fire, Houston is pulling some tasty espresso, Austin is . . . still weird. All in all, Texas is kicking some ass, and I can't be happier about it.

I'll be posting some more on the upcoming SNS at Medici that will be held on July 31st. In the mean time, I hope to see some of y'all at Brown Coffee's Open House, or at Clementine's party on July 10. Late.

Friday, June 26, 2009

DFW Barista Jam Video

Here is a little video Ashlind put together for the jam . . . Start the Fire.
video

Monday, June 22, 2009

And that's the rest of the story . . .

More details on the Dallas barista jam have been coming in (okay, I'm actually making them up as I go along . . . but now we have a bunch of people!). The locale is a local cafe called Urban Dog Cafe, and it's so secret of a barista jam that it's not even on their website yet. It'll be held on SUNDAY (very important, as this is not on a Saturday) June 28th at 6:30 pm, with the throwdown starting at 8 pm . . . but get their early as we have a few special guest speakers.

Danny and Sherri Johns, owners of Whole Cup Consulting and facilitators of the Ultimate Barista Challenge will share some of their vast wealth of coffee business knowledge garnered from over 20 years in the business. Rounding out the educational portion of the evening is two time United States Barista Champion Heather Perry, elucidating the audience on some of the finer points of barista technique followed by a demonstration of what it takes to be Heather Perry(insert smirk here).

The same rules will apply as if this were a Saturday Night Smackdown, save for the sign up time, which will start at 6:30 pm, and the cut off time, which will end at 8:00 pm. The theme pour will be determined on site by the panel of judges, and the buy in remains $10. For any other questions refer to the rules on the right, or email me at SaturdayNightSmackdown@gmail.com.

Rock.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen . . . Start Your Engines!!

Something very exciting is happening in the State of Texas this month . . . Saturday Night Smackdown is being hosted in Dallas! That's right, we're taking this show on the road.

There will be a barista competition the last weekend in June, the Ultimate Barista Challenge, and we will be taking advantage of the opportunity to have everyone gathered around. The details are coming in slowly but surely, with two time USBC Champion Heather Perry making a guest appearance as our speaker, and some more surprises on the way . . . this is gonna be awesome.

I will keep you updated as more information presents itself, but for now, keep your weekend free for an awesome time in Dallas on June 28th.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Most Successful

This past weekend brought about the beginning and the end of the most awesome Smackdown to date. One great presentation from Mike McKim of Cuvee Coffee, three delicious coffees from El Salvador, Sixteen talented and passionate baristas, one empty keg, and loads of great pictures.


Mike's presentation on processing methods was elucidating and exciting, especially when paired with washed, pulp natural, and natural processed coffees to not only see and hear, but also taste the distinction. A silent and anticipatory crowd hung onto Mike's words and savored Jose Antonio's fine work. A big thanks to Mike for taking the time to pass on a little more information that will help us all become better baristas.



Not only did we have a great number of folks show up for the educational bit, but they even stuck around for the free beer and latte art throwdown. This event had baristas from as close as Once Over Coffee Bar and Thunderbird, to as far away as Colorado Springs. The word is getting out! A sizable contigent from Dallas - the White Rock boys again - as well as baristas from Quacks 43rd Street Bakery, Clementine, unaffiliated (or over-affiliated in Tyler Wells case), and a fair number of coffee lovers made this event so much fun.


Thanks to everyone who showed up, thanks to everyone who competed, and thanks to everyone who helped me put this on. The Smackdowns are a success because of your participation. Just like the coffee world, we wouldn't be here if not for the baristas who are willing to put in the time and energy to grow their craft.

And now for the winners . . .
in no particular order the top six were . . .

Nathan Shelton from White Rock Coffee



Tyler Wells from all over the place


Ryan Van Eck of Caffe Medici


Deanna Durgis of Caffe Medici

Daniel Austin Reed of Caffe Medici

and the cash money went to ....

Jenna White of Caffe Medici!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

It's on like Donkey Kong!!

May 30th is the date for this months Saturday Night Smackdown . . . same bat time, same bat place. Which for the sake of clarity means 2222b Guadalupe Street (Caffe Medici), Austin, TX 78705. We'll start sign up for the Throwdown at 5pm, first come first served and it stops at 30 people. This means a potential prize of $300 . . . holy cow!!

Cuvee Coffee's Mike McKim and Dan Streetman will be elucidating us on the finer points of coffee processing. They received some coffee from the El Salvador San Francisco Estate Cerro Las Ranas processed three different ways, Natural, Pulp Natural, and Washed. This promises to be eye opening.

There have been a couple of rule changes since the last Smackdowns, so be ready for a slightly altered format, and thanks for bearing with us as we attempt to perfect our art at perfecting your art. You can read the new rule posting by clicking the Rules and Regulations link on your right.

The two big changes are the creation of "theme pours", that is every competitor must pour into a predetermined cup size and design. The theme pour for this month is 12 ounce single rosettas . . . please remember though how varied rosettas can look and get creative. The second big change is in the scoring, half points are now given, and ties will be broken by Overall Impression scores . . . which rosetta is the most appealing and creative breaks the tie.

We'll have a pony keg of some tasty tasty beer (you know us) and we encourage you to bring a sixer of your favorite to share, or not to share. Here's to hoping the Dallas boys and the Houston boys come on down for the Smackdown in the ATX.

See y'all there.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

April Smackdowns bring May Throwdowns

Another great Smackdown has come to an end. This past Saturday was a more intimate gathering than previous Smackdowns have been, which was a great change of pace. Dan Streetman and Clancy Rose, both from Cuvee Coffee in Spicewood, sat down with the baristas and held a very interesting coffee tasting.

The theme for the evening was "Storied Coffees", and the three coffees presented for the audience were Costa Rica Helzar de Zarcero, El Salvadaor Cerro Las Ranas, and Rwanda Epiphanie. Each one of these coffees holds an interesting story and a unique and budding relationship with the boys at Cuvee. All of the coffees were french pressed and passed around (think Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony) while being discussed, not only tasting notes, but relationships and histories as well. Kudos to Cuvee on this one.



The Throwdown portion of the event was also as intimate and interesting as the coffee tasting. A sizable Dallas contingent made their presence known . . . all from White Rock Coffee!! Seems to be one coffee shop to keep paying attention to. Can't wait for next months Dallas vs. Austin vs. Houston throwdown. You hear that Catalina?? Medici and White Rock will be bringing it baby! Hope you can too.

After all was said and throwndown, top honors went to:

Third Place: Tyler "One Dollar" Wells of Beef and Pie Coffee Bar



Second Place: Dan "Always the Bridesmaid" Streetman of Cuvee Coffee



First Place: Stevo "I Just Brought It" Wimberley of Caffe Medici



Check out more photographs at our flickr page. All photographs courtesy of Gregory Beuhler Photography. More information on him at www.IsTheOvenOn.com.

As usual, Strongbad says "See you suckers next time!"

Monday, April 20, 2009

Once More With Feeling!!!

It's almost that time again . . . no, not 1:24 in the morning, but the last Saturday of the month. Which can only mean one thing . . . okay two things, I have to do laundry, and you all have to show up to Caffe Medici on Guadalupe for the Saturday Night Smackdown. Oh Yeah!!!

Starting at 5 pm, Clancy Rose from Cuvee Coffee will share with us insights on processing methods gained from his recent trip to Panamanian fincas, aka Coffee Farms, and he promises to have some amazing photos of real life Panamanians. WOW!

Then at 6 pm, the real reason you all are showing up . . . Latte Art Throwdown!! Boosh! The rules are the same as always, and posted at the bottom of the blog. Ten dollar buy in, winner take all . . . and tshirts for the top finishers.

So be there, or forfeit your chance to win lots of dough and walk away with a kick ass t shirt.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Great Success!!

Saturday Night Smackdown was a hit . . . with tha ladies (and dudes).

The cupping from 3:30 to 5:30 was extremely informative as roasters Max Gonzalez of Amaya Roasting and Aaron Blanco of the Brown Coffee Co. were there to speak about their coffees. Max and Aaron have recently started purchasing green coffee together and they each brought Ethiopia Yrgacheffe Idido Misty Valley, same lot, same BAG, but roasted with their on signature style. Definately an eye opening moment for many folks there.

We also cupped coffee from Cuvee Coffee Roasting of Spicewood, a delicious washed Guatemala San Jose Ocona. Their roaster Clancy Rose was on site to give some insight to his roasting technique. Clancy had recently come back from a trip to Panama, and he took the time to share some of his experiences with the rest of us, as well as give us a few notes on processing methods from a first hand point of view.

Texas Coffee Traders brought a semi-washed Papua New Guinea, a stand out as the only Indonesian, Owl Tree Roasting brought an Ethiopian Mokka, and Houston's very own Sean Marshall brought a pound of Ethiopia to share as well.

The Throwdown had an amazing turnout as well . . . enticed by the notion of pizza and beer, contestants and spectators alike waited anxiously for it to start. The level of art at this event was something to be feared, baristas poured everything from triple rosettas to tulips. It was fierce!

The six finalists were . . .



David Buehrer of Tuscany Coffee, Houston, TX
With an amazing tulip in a cappuccino



Stevo Wimberely of Caffe Medici, Austin, TX
brought it with a sick rosetta in a cappuccino cup



Justin Daughtery of Caffe Medici, Austin, TX
and his ol' standby: a HUGE rosetta in a latte cup



With top three honors going to . . .

Number Three

John Johnson of JP's Java, Austin, TX
with amazing contrast and his signature dot!



Number Two

Dan Streetman of Cuvee Coffee Roasting Co, Spicewood, TX
kicked it up a notch with his three tiered tulip in a macchiato!



Number One

Lorenzo Perkins of Caffe Medici, Austin, TX
brought it even harder with a FOUR tiered tulip in a macchiato!
BOOSH!



Strongbad says, "See you guys next month . . . "

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Smackdown in the ATX

The first ever Saturday Night Smackdown has been scheduled for March 28, that's on a Saturday for those of you with calendars, starting at 3pm and going until we can't drink anymore (coffee). If you are interested in attending, please send an email to SaturdayNightSmackdown@gmail.com with your name and whether or not you desire to compete.

This event is open to anyone and everyone who has a desire to learn more about coffee, no snootiness or snobbery to be found here. You don't have to be a competitor to show up and have a good time, but we do encourage active participation in the events leading up to the pour off.

So, tell your friends, tell your mom, tell your friends mom (OH! Burn!) and show up on saturday night ready to drink some coffee.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Rules

How to compete at the SNS

A. Competitor Signup

  • Limited to 30 competitors
  • The 30 are determined by first come/first serve. If there are people still wanting to compete after the 30 spaces are filled, then they will be signed up first for the following month. If they do not show up, then at 5:30 PM the following month, there slot will be up for grabs.
  • In order to participate, the competitor must have experience with espresso preparation and the equipment used to do so. In addition, the competitor must have experience pouring milk based beverages.
  • Sign-up begins at 5:00 PM by way of an announcement.
  • 6:00 PM is the cut off time. If a person is not signed up by 6:00 PM, then they will not be able to compete.
  • At the sign-up, the competitor will give their name, and be assigned a number, and will pay their $10.
B. Competition time/Competitor requirements

  • Competitor will have his or her number called, and must be available and ready to compete while the number that is 2 before them is currently competing.
  • Competitor will have 3 minutes total behind the machine. This is includes optional prep/grind adjustment. It is not necessary to fill the whole 3 minutes.
  • Competitor can pull as many shots as he or she wants within the 3 minute time frame.
  • Each competitor will get one pitcher of milk, and only one opportunity to steam.
  • Spilled milk will be handled case by case.
  • The competitor must pour the themed design and cup size of the evening
  • Espresso and milk are provided, and those are the only choices. Competitors MAY NOT bring their own espresso or milk.
  • The latte art must free pour, no etching or sauces allowed. Only ingredients will be espresso and milk.
  • Once the drink is poured, competitor will place it on the designated saucer to be photographed. After it is photographed, it will be carried by one of the officiators to the judging table.
  • If the competitor is not happy with his or her pour, then the competitor can choose not to submit it for scoring, by notifying an officiator.
  • If the competitor spills the drink on the way to being photographed, he or she does NOT get another chance to pour again.
  • If the officiator drops the drink on the way to the judges or the judges knock or spill it before they can score it, the drink will be judged from the photograph.
C. Judging

  • The drinks will be judged in 4 categories.
  1. Balance & Symmetry
  • Dividing lines are clean, even, and show no signs of hesitation.
  • Individual elements work well with and compliment each other. There is no sense of awkwardness.
2. Color Infusion & Defintion
  • The contrast between the whiteness of the foam, and the darkness of the crema
  • How infused or intertwined the brownness of the crema is with the whiteness of the foam
  • The intention of the design is obvious and clear
3. Use of Space
  • The design fills the cup with in an appropriate and pleasant way
  • The design neither crowds the cup, nor leaves it feeling empty or unfinished
  • There is a harmony between the size of the cup and size of the design
4. Overall Impression
  • Drink is free of spill marks and cup is appropriately full of liquid
  • General aesthetic appeal
  • Subjective appreciation

  • Each of the 3 judges can award up to 6 points in each category, giving the possibility of a perfect score in a category being 18, and in perfect score in all categories 72.
  • Judges can award 1 to 6 points. 0’s are not allowed, half points are.
  • The scale works as follows:
One point = Acceptable
Two points = Average
Three points = Good
Four points = Very Good
Five points = Excellent
Six points = Extraordinary

In the case of a tied total score, scores will be compared and the competitor with the highest Overall Impression score will be declared the winner.

WTF Mate?

Saturday Night Smackdown was inspired by our dear friends at Octane, those dedicated souls keepin coffee alive in the heart of the dirty south, Atlanta, GA. The idea is similar, to create an event for the surrounding coffee community to gather and share ideas, experiences, knowledge, and a whole lotta love.

For too long, Texas has dwelled upon the outskirts of Specialty Coffee. For too long, Texas has been ignored by the rest of the coffee drinking world. Well now, it's time for Texas to secede! I fear that the Northwest has only awakened a sleeping giant . . . you want it, come and take it!