Latte Art Competitions are a world we're new to, but we feel that soon, perhaps, they will begin to accept us as their own. Even though we can't make latte art. Laura's working on it. Elizabeth is sipping her tea and updating twitter. We can't all be good at everything, you guys.
Anyway, the world of Latte Art Competitions. Here's what you need to know (according to our research): there's usually cheap or free beer. There are plenty o' hats. There are more tattoos.
"There seems to be a correlation between number of tattoos and victory." - A Well Barista/Latte Art Throwdown Emcee
There is Justin Timberlake music (for real, the baristas seem to love some JT. [this is not a complaint.Who doesn't?]). Sometimes there are free lattes. You really can't beat the people-watching. A great time is had by all.
The one at the Well was pretty similar to the one at the 5th Avenue Bongo, except there were a lot more Chacos. And it was a little more low-key. Their Emcees had more jokes and their DJ was playing mash-ups all night though, both of which were pretty fantastic.
We've decided to recap a little differently this time and list out our top 10 favorite moments. Narrowing it down to 10 was not easy, so please know that if you decide to join us at the next one (assuming we get an invite), you will be entertained.
10. Possible Lorde sighting. Lorde, please wear a hairnet behind the bar from now on, but cute shorts!
9. Man wearing a brim-less baseball hat that wasn't quite a baseball hat. Laura spent several minutes trying to figure it out. Elizabeth spent a few hours. The closest she got was Jacques Cousteau.
8. The Emcee (and Well Coffeehouse barista/owner?/manager?) was intent on letting the competing baristas know that they were worth more than their latte art.
"[The judges] aren't picking the best human, just the best latte art. Remember, this says nothing about you as a person."
7. The criteria included contrast, symmetry, where the design sits in the cup, and spirit animals. That is, whether the judge felt the design reflected theirs.
6. Possibly the most Christian sub-culture thing that's ever been said on a microphone: "Give the baristas a side hug. Hold hands--mittens, not gloves."
5. Nope, just kidding, it was this: "Give it up for Crema -- dying to self." [Crema barista Jess offered to steam the milk for her non-experienced competitor]
4. Two non-barista competitors participated to fill in two slots. They'd never made latte art before in their lives, but were brave enough to step up and complete the bracket. Everyone was very welcoming and encouraging, despite the fact that their latte art seemed to be heavily influenced by Jackson Pollock.
3. The invite flyer said "Bring Your Own Mug" and we texted for a good 5 minutes about which mug to bring, decided to bring matching mugs, realized on our way there that BYOM was probably just for baristas, and left said mugs in our cars. If this were youth group, we were the seventh graders. (Dodged a bullet on that one. We were actually considering break-ability in our decisions in case the baristas chipped them or something. I KNOW. We feel bad for ourselves.)
2. These guys arrived right before the last round. Dressed in full coffee-shop regalia. The one on the right seems to be wearing some sort of bowler/fedora hybrid. The one on the right is wearing what we believe is an Akubra, the great Australian icon. (Hat number two that required a Google search. We're nothing if not thorough.) They were pretty adorable standing next to one another in the back, arms folded, watching the festivities together.
1. The emcee making Barista Parlor jokes.
"I go to Barista Parlor once a year -- and I drink it in my car because I get too nervous."
The winners were: first place: Nathanael, who was a boss at creating swans in his designs, second place: Ben, whom we know very little about, and third place: Jess, who got 2nd place at the Bongo one and whom Laura would like you to know that she knows because it makes her feel cool.
Hat counts: (what you really come here for, ARE WE RIGHT? We're thinking about writing about hats full time.)
Jacques Cousteau hat: 1
Baseball caps: 4
Backwards baseball caps: 4
Disheveled facial hair: 10
Sheveled facial hair: 2
Ironic KISS t-shirt with cutoff sleeves: 1
Self-deprecating jokes about baristas: 2
What was your favorite part? What shop do you think has the best latte art? (Have you been to the new Well yet in Brentwood?)