Scenes from the steamy Latte Art Throw Down

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JANA BUSSANICH
  • Jana Bussanich
Last Thursday I was happy to be asked to judge the relatively new Latte Art Throw Down at Urban Steam Coffee Bar, a monthly event that, so far, rotates among The Principal's Office at Ivywild School, R&R Coffee Café, Colorado Coffee Merchants, and Cafe Velo. (And, more or less, those are the coffee bars doing most exciting things with the drink in this area.)

It's a winner-take-all match that anybody can enter; last week's fee was five bucks. Unfortunately, I didn't catch who won — though, I'd argue, that's not really the point, anyway. So I'm here to tell you everything I did catch.

Below are a few photos of the event, courtesy of Jana Bussanich. But first, the four things to look at when judging said steamed-milk art, as provided to me:

• "Symmetry. On most pours the lines should be as symmetrical as possible. There are a few exceptions, such as swans, or more complex multi feature pours, but in general the more symmetrical the better. This highlights control and consistency."

• "Contrast. In every pour, the more defined, and separated the design is from the espresso, the better. This shows precision, and proper pour technique."

• "Size. The smaller the cup poured into, the more difficult the pour is considered."

• "Design. ... From easiest to hardest to pour: Heart, a rosetta (leaf shape) tulip (the more layers the harder pour) any combination of the above pours, swan (rosetta and dot and heart) and phoenix (two rosettas a dot and heart). Just because a pour is more difficult does not mean it automatically wins."

Just one of many designs I could not replicate on my best day. - JANA BUSSANICH
  • Jana Bussanich
  • Just one of many designs I could not replicate on my best day.

Did the people come because of the free lattes handed out after each round, or Urban Steam's new bourbon-centric alcohol menu? - JANA BUSSANICH
  • Jana Bussanich
  • Did the people come because of the free lattes handed out after each round, or Urban Steam's new bourbon-centric alcohol menu?

The sacred, bottle-cap judging tokens being placed next to the desired cup. - JANA BUSSANICH
  • Jana Bussanich
  • The sacred, bottle-cap judging tokens being placed next to the desired cup.


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