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!

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!