Is latte art making a comeback or did it never really leave? While the throwdown has maybe lost some social capital and is often decried as wasteful, latte art itself is still very much a part of coffee culture. It’s a visual cue to the amount of skill and craftsmanship that goes into every drink, even if the latte art’s only real contribution is aesthetic.
Thanks to the efforts of folks like Anita Tam at Slow Pour Supply, who has been in attendance at every Coffee Champs Qualifying Event to drum up excitement for the soon-to-return US Latte Art Championship, interest in latte art as a competitive medium is being reinvigorated in the United States. In some places, though, the excitement never really went away. The biggest of these is Coffee Fest, the traveling quarterly specialty coffee trade show that hosts the Latte Art World Championship Open. Even with 64 slots available, the Latte Art World Championship Open draws in an international field and snagging a spot in the bracket can be difficult. That’s why, ahead of the Coffee Fest New York event on March 8th, machine sponsor Rancilio has teamed up with Espresso State of Mind for the Coffee Fest New York Qualifier, with the top four finishers earning a spot at the World Championship Open.
Taking place Saturday, March 7th at Firelight Studios in Brooklyn, the setup for the Qualifier mirrors that of the Coffee Fest event, down to the machine used. Hopping on the Rancilio Specialty RS1, a total of 64 competitors will go head-to-head in a bracket style, free pour-only competition. The final four left standing in the single elimination contest will earn themselves a spot in the already sold out Latte Art World Championship Open at Coffee Fest New York. But the work isn’t over from there. The winners of the Qualifier will have to face off in Round One against a murderer’s row of Latte Artists including Sugato Takeguchi and past champions Emilee Bryant, Antoine Franklin, and Daisuke Tanaka.
Sign up for the Coffee Fest New York Qualifier is on a first come first served basis. The buy-in for competitors is $10. For details on the Qualifier, check out Espresso State of Mind’s Instagram account, and for more information on the Latte Art World Championship Open, visit Coffee Fest’s official website.
Zac Cadwalader is the managing editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.
Disclosure: Rancilio is an advertising partner with the Sprudge Media Network