Spending a Thursday evening with a bunch of milk wielding coffee geeks turned out to be quite entertaining ..
I'm talking about last weeks gathering of Exeters finest baristas at it's newest speciality gem March Coffee at 58 South Street. Why ? To show off their prowess with a jug of milk and an espresso of course in the Art of Latte.
For the uninitiated it's a learned skill most modern baristas work hard to perfect with hours of practice. Basic patterns are hearts, tulips and rosettas, all difficult enough in their own right. The comes the tricky more detailed patterns like a swan, phoenix and combination patterns of many of the above. This is generally done without the aid of stencils or picks and is achieved just by careful pouring of the milk into the espresso. Clever eh !
For the initiated, you already knew that right !
This is a skill that's become de rigueur for any self proclaimed barista wanting to show a customer that there's more to standing behind a counter and pressing a few buttons on a big shiny machine. Latte Art competitions have been around for probably the last ten years and now form part of the coffee world championships that take place every year. You only need to google 'latte art' and you'll find intricate patterns that seem impossible to achieve with just a jug of heated milk and an espresso.
So, what about Exeters best ? How did they get on under the pressure of performing in front of their peers and other onlookers ? Here's a few shots (courtesy of James Hall) of the night to show you the fantastic levels of skill that were on show for the evening.
Ed from Exploding had the goods
John and Valentina have made March Coffee the new place to go
Me and WIll from Roastworks doing the serious judging
George from Chococo feeling the competition pressure
Harry from Camper Coffee
John at home behind his La Marzocco Strada EP
Tulips - Round 1
Devon Coffee Steve
Sam was an unknown star
Round 2 Rosettas were a close call
Maria from Camper Coffee showing her moves
James from Artigiano getting focused
What magic is Ed performing
On 3.. POINT
Lewis a close 2nd deserved a hug
First place deserved a little Chemex love
Big thanks have to go out to John for allowing us to host the event at March Coffee and to my co-judges Will from Roastworks and Valentina the mastermind behind the fabulous cakes and doughnuts on the counter at March.
and the results..
1st place: Ed from Exploding Bakery (henceforth dubbed double swan Ed)
2nd place: Lewis from Camper Coffee
3rd place: Fay from Exploding Bakery
All the competitors put £5 into a hat raising £110 for the night to be donated to Project Waterfall which raises money for clean drinking water in poor coffee producing regions in Africa.
Thanks to James Hall for the images too.
See you at the next one.