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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Coffee Corner: 2nd Annual Latte Art Contest at Perk and Play coffeehouse!

(click on photos to enlarge)

Thanks to Perk and Play coffeehouse, Eugene has its very own Barista competition featuring free-pour latte art. And the 2nd Annual Latte Art Contest hosted by the people at Perk and Play coffeehouse was, by all account, a success. Some 15 Professional and amateur Baristas from the area gathered, along with other local coffee professionals and coffee enthusiasts, to compete for Cash prizes, show off their skills and have fun! Baristas that accepted the challenge represented several Eugene coffee shops including; One Cup Cafe, Gary's Coffee, Vero Espresso House, Wandering Goat Coffee and, of course, Perk and Play coffeehouse. The competition was pretty stiff but remained light-hearted and fun. I was pleasantly surprised by how professionally the contest was put together and run by the people at Perk and Play. Perk and Play's owners and Baristas had a very professional and easy way about them that made for a comfortable and enjoyable evening. And I wasn't the only one to notice. After the competition Randy Stark, one of Perk and Play's owners said, " I was really happy with how well the staff at Perk and Play worked together to keep everything running smoothly.  Our employees really rose to the occasion to help the contestants feel at ease. The crowd was wonderful - [they were]very encouraging to all the baristas who poured." 

Randy Stark of Perk and Play coffeehouse with another competitor in the background.

A Perk and Play Barista stands ready at the scoreboard. A flat screen monitor helped onlookers watch the competition unfold up close.

Competitors and coffee enthusiasts watching the competition.

Okon Udosenata from One Cup Cafe, behind the espresso machine, pours a latte.

Baristas from Vero Espresso House and Wandering Goat Coffee Company made it to the finals of the competition. When the steam had cleared, Johhny Ormsbee of Vero Espresso House took 3rd place and  pocketed a cool $20. Coming in second place this year with a $50 cash prize was Walter Steeb IV of Wandering Goat. And first place honors and a fat hundred dollar bill went to Wandering Goat Coffee Barista Thomas Howard! Congratulations to this years contest winners and thanks to all of the Baristas for puting on a great show. In recognition of Thomas' first place creation his winning latte will be featured in the For Love Of Coffee, website logo for the rest of the month! Also check out the Register-Guard's coverage of the contest in Wednesday's paper.

The first place latte.

The one hundred dollar first place winner of Perk and Play's 2nd Annual Latte Art Contest was Thomas Howard of Wandering Goat Coffee.

The people at Perk and Play, working in the background behind the judges table, were great hosts!

Some of the crowd that turned out for the contest.

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The second place latte.

The fifty dollar 2nd place winner was Walter Steeb IV of Wandering Goat Coffee.

Perk and Play coffeehouse.

3rd place latte.

The twenty dollar 3rd place prize went to Johnny Ormsbee of Vero Espresso House. 

The three judge panel.

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Each latte was scrutinized and scored by a three judge panel. The judges rated each contestant's latte art in four categories; Clarity, Balance, Creativity and overall appeal. There were a lot of beautiful latte's on display throughout the evening and most of them were close to each other in quality and artistic creativity. The real difference that I noticed between the higher and lower scoring drinks was the clarity of design on top of the latte. Though I didn't see the judge's final scores, you can see the clear contrast between the lighter milk foam and the darker espresso crema on these top three-placing lattes. Beautiful. c[_]


This Barista showed personality too, an attribute of a top notch, spro-slingin' pro.

Perk and Play coffeehouse

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