This past Thursday I competed at Octane Coffee's monthly Thursday Night Throwdown, a free-pour latte art competition in Atlanta. Now I've done this maybe 7 or 8 times over the last three years, and I've never won. One time I got 4th place out of 40-something competitors, and another time I went head-to-head in the final pour-off and lost.
This week I totally bombed it. I can blame it on the different machine (one of the 2009 SERBC Aurelias), or different cups than I'm used to or whatever, but the bottom line is I choked.
This was my first pour. Mine is the one of the left:
(sorry about the cell phone picture quality! it was really dark...)
Right when I poured into the cup I had a bit of a white-out blob, so I spent too much time trying to bury it and left too little time to draw a pretty mediocre tulip.
My second pour felt much much better, but I was a little too shaky for a controlled pour. I ended up with a pretty well-defined tulip, but I should have thrown in another layer to it before finishing it off. This one actually earned me a split-decision vote, but it wasn't enough to advance out of my bracket:
On a good note, one of the Empire State South baristas I work with, Brandon Malcom, advanced to the finals and clinched the win. He walked away with the $70 pot and a Hario Skerton hand grinder. He actually faced off in the finals with Joseph Yancey, a Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee barista who helped me film a few of the videos I've posted here on Double Rosetta.