As the social media professional for Coffee Fest Shows, I’ve been fortunate the last 14 months to visit with many, many baristas and coffee professionals. Everytime I pop into a new coffeeshop, I ask the baristas if they will be competing in Coffee Fest’s Latte Art Competitions. Half the time, the baristas know what this competition is and I get an answer along the lines of
Oh I’m not good enough for that
or a reply like this
Yeah, I’m not much into that latte art competing
Here’s the backstory on why Latte Art competitions matter.
David Heilbrunn, others and I sat down with the Blenz Coffee franchisee from Tokyo the Monday after Coffee Fest Seattle in 2010. Near the end of the conversation, David asked the gentleman, who owns about eight Blenz Coffee stores in Tokyo, if he knew why Latte Art Competitions began.
The whole intent behind Latte Art competitions is to “Raise The Bar” of preparing and serving good coffee.
If customers get a great tasting latte with a good design on the top, it elevates the customer experience from that shop. It elevates the reputation of the coffeeshop, and the barista, with the customer base.
This coffeeshop, enjoying strong customer rapport, then forces other coffeeshops around it to start matching the level of expectation.
It forces other baristas to increase their knowledge of the craft, building a stronger coffee culture in the community.
It forces the barista practicing the art, to learn more about the industry and to practice their skills, creating a higher level of professionalism.
The customer enjoys a greater dialogue about what makes great coffee, becoming a quality coffee ambassador.
Personally, as a former chef, I don’t understand why a barista wouldn’t take advantage of this, especially when they are only competing with 63 other baristas in a fun environment, and trying to grab a 1st place purse of $2500. If I was a barista, competing would increase my skills and give me a shot at a big chunk of Christmas change.
I’ve been talking with Tom at Water Avenue Coffee the past month, about the competition. He keeps saying he needs to do it. He’s arguably one of the finest baristas in Portland OR, and I know a $2500 prize would buy some fancy bicycle component for his life passion of cycling.
If you’re a barista of six months or years, I’d love to see you up doing your best in Chicago next month!
Registrations close on Monday – You can register here!