Barista Smackdown at Dukes Cafe + Eatery
• By Brioche of Tarth
I was not sure what to expect in a barista competition, but supporting the local cafe scene (and the prospect of burgers) was a good enough reason for me to haul myself into town at 5pm on a Thursday evening.
To be honest, I'm not a coffee fiend and rarely drink the stuff but I can thoroughly appreciate latte art.
Next time you order a coffee from one of Darwin's great cafes, watch them. The fluid movements and the occasional flicks of the milk jug could be likened to ballet. The really good folks absolutely pour their heart into every cup.
Before the competition everyone had a test drive with the Dukes coffee machines to get the pour right.
The 16 baristas were paired off and they had to make 8 cups of coffee in 12 minutes, 2 of each design: tulip, rosetta, swan and free-pour.
One of each design was then whisked away to the judge's table, who scored each cup based on taste, temperature and the latte art itself.
I was thoroughly fascinated with each barista's method of pouring during the competition - everyone held their cups differently, some tilted their heads to a worrisome angle, and everyone had the consistent element of utter concentration.
Unfortunately, due to circumstances, I didn’t get pictures of all the baristas pouring and much less the resulting coffee art. These will have to do.
Every table had a massive plate of crisps, and once the competition was underway the sliders and a few entrees made their appearance.
After the scores were tallied, the top 6 baristas went head to head and had to submit two free-pour designs.
Congratulations to the winners:
If there's ever another competition, I would highly reccomend that you get to it - free flow coffees for everyone!