The Artist Formerly Known as Mark Prince: “Less Throw Downs, More Spro Downs”

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There’s a read worth your while up right now at CoffeeGeek, Mark Prince’s living, breathing, mountainous edifice to home brew, coffee culture, and 90s-style message boards.

“A big, huge, gargantuan trend in barista circles is the latte art throwdown. You’ve probably heard of this thing – a bunch of baristas gather, be it at a party held during the SCAA, at regional barista competitions, at barista jams, etc, etc, and they kick $5 into the pot for a winner take all competition for who can pour the best latte art.

As far as advancing the actual art and skill of making great coffee, they don’t contribute too much, except perhaps how to steam milk better and with better texture…There’s nothing in these contests to challenge the barista to make a better cup of espresso. Nothing much in the competitions to foster an environment that seeks to understand the process of turning a whole roasted bean of coffee into a magical elixir of heavenly goodness in the cup.

There is a competition out there in various formats that does achieve this and has many of the community building aspects of the latte art throwdown, but it’s not one that is nearly as common. It is called the Spro Down.”

MP goes on to claim credit and coverage for the original Spro Down, in a Zell-like bid for his rightful place in specialty coffee history. Are you aware of any event claiming the name “Spro Down” occurring prior to the one in Vancouver, British Columbia in early 2007? Let Sprudge know.

Read the full story over at CoffeeGeek.com

Comments

  1. Spro THIS!!! says

    Mark Prince will do anything to get people to love him and think that he’s some sort of coffee expert. No matter how much he bitches about latte art competitions, he’ll judge them because he gets a sense of self-importance.

    NO MORE MARK PRINCE!

    Then there’s you No Spro – you sound like that criminal Nick Cho.

  2. Geek Coffee says

    “I’m judging a latte art competition Saturday. I swore I’d never judge one… but caved as a favour to a friend.”
    From Mark’s twitter feed re: the Blenz Latte Art Competition

    Did the competitors know that one of the judges didn’t want to be there and doesn’t see these competitions as useful?

  3. No Spro? says

    It’s amazing all you pansies that come on here posting you hate Mark, blah, blah, blah, but why don’t ya have balls enough to put your real name?

  4. Spro THIS!!! says

    Is there some reason that we need to be smeared by the shit that is Mark Prince outside of that CoffeeGeek place? The guy is the biggest self-centered jerk-off this side of Nick Cho.

    If it doesn’t adhere to the Mark Prince vision of coffee then it must be wrong.

    Go away Prince – people really hate you. They’re just too nice to tell you to your face.

    And yes, you twitter too much.

  5. Name (required) says

    The self proclaimed Coffeegeek, re-emerges from the depths of web developer hell to in an effort to save his membership. I suspect that much like most anything Mr. Prince writes it will be gobbled up by the sheep that call themselves his followers. Thanks Mr. Prince, but don’t you have enough to do with out telling us how we should do things?

  6. says

    Here’s the thing…Latte art throwdowns have always been just for fun.
    Making disparaging remarks about an event for not being what it has never attempted to be does not advance anything either.
    It doesn’t make sense.
    Baristas do not need to turn every event into an “advance the craft” event.
    The very nature of having fun together IS advancing the craft because the craftsmen are being refreshed and engaging in the kind of community that breeds future events that are more focused and sustained relationships where they challenge and inspire one another.

  7. No Spro #2 says

    Once again, Mark Prince is so focused on being the protagonist in his own tale that he loses sight on the real story.

    Mark is, always has been, and is apparently hell-bent on always being a COFFEE CONSUMER. “Consumers” are, by definition, self-interested. Don’t get me wrong, we’re all consumers most of the time. It’s just that for Mark, he seems to diss the latte-art-throwdowns because they’re not about what he wants them to be about.

    First and foremost, the throwdowns have been, from day one, about building barista community. It’s as much about the beer and camaraderie as it is about steaming milk.

    Secondly, the latte-art-throwdowns were informal alternatives to the WBC-type competition, where nobody but the head-judge had any real sense of how well a competitor was doing. With the latte-art-throwdowns, everyone can see what was poured and judge for themselves.

    Mark’s unfortunately-named “Spro Down” is, basically, an informal version of the espresso-portion of the WBC. What’s the fun in that? Why would anyone watch that?

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