The throw downs have been a regular part of the local coffee roasters' event lineup over the past year, something owners Amy and Scott Angelo say they hope will help to foster a more vibrant coffee culture in Broward and Palm Beach counties.
"Over the past year, we've been hosting these barista throw downs to get more local coffee shops — and now our growing local roasting community — involved with fostering a more supportive coffee culture in South Florida," says Amy, whose own baristas often face off against one another for the win during such competitions. "The past few months, it's been a struggle to get more baristas involved, and we're really hoping as we move forward more independent cafés will get involved and show their stuff."
The next barista throw down will take place on Thursday, June 25, at Oceana Coffee’s new retail lounge, located at 150 N. U.S. Hwy. 1 in Tequesta. The competition will determine which barista creates the best latte art and the most creative coffee concoction.
During the throw down, each contestant will have four minutes to create as many lattes as they can and show the celebrity judges their most beautiful "latte art." The coffee art will be judged on its taste, visual appearance, and creativity based on the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s criteria of balance and symmetry, use of space, color contrast, and definition.
Contestants must pay a $5 entry fee to participate, and the top three winners will receive cash and prizes. Entrants are also encouraged to bring their own equipment and ingredients but will also be able to use any of the coffee and bar tools available at Oceana Coffee, including espresso machines and slow-brew equipment.
Most important: Come prepared with a creative coffee drink recipe, says Amy.
"We've already seen so many creative takes, everything from rosemary and mint lattes to a cacao-nib-infused cold brew," says Amy. "We're really hoping to see baristas pushing the boundaries of what can be done with coffee and to be as creative as they can be."
Moving forward, expect to see a monthly barista throw down held the fourth Thursday of every month. This month, judges will include local restaurateurs and business owners, including Jim and Patty Anderson of Waterview Kitchens, Elaine Yundt of Head to Toe Massage & Spa, and chef Erik Pettersen Aversa from EVO Restaurant. Spectators will be able to cast votes too with a people’s choice award to be given for best latte art and best tasting coffee drink.
The June barista throw down event will take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Ocean Coffee. Participants are encouraged to call and RSVP, but preregistration is not required.
Oceana Coffee is located at 150 N. U.S. Hwy. 1, Tequesta. Call 561-401-2453, or visit oceanacoffee.com.
Nicole Danna is a food writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on the BPB New Times Food & Drink Instagram.