It is back again, now for the fourth year and as per last year, there are a massive 64 places available. The London Latte Art Smackdown, sponsored by Square Mile, Coffee Hit, Victoria Arduino, The London Coffee Festival and Kaffeine, runs over five weeks starting with four rounds of heats from Friday the 9th of September at our new store on Eastcastle street and finishing with the final on Friday the 7th October in the event space at Square Mile Coffee Roasters. Yes, it is now on a Friday, hopefully allowing for a bit more of a sleep in/recovery on the Saturday morning.
It is pretty simple. 64 spaces, £10 entry, maximum of four entries per company, 16 entrants per heat, knock out rounds to get the top 4 to go through to the final, making another 16 competitors for the finals. Kick off is from 7:30 pm sharp each Friday night and we usually finish up about 9:30 pm.
The rules: They get tighter each year, but again we keep it simple.
A Kaffeine barista will be pouring double shots for you into 2 x 5 oz 'flat white' Acme cups.
You steam your milk and split your jugs.
You pour your preferred pattern, but we only allow rosettas, tulips or hearts.
Cup handle must be presented to the right of the judges, with the base of the pattern at 6 o'clock
You choose your best looking and presented drink and put it forward for consideration
You pour your left over milk into a glass to measure your 'wastage'
You remove your second drink.
The barista you are battling against then goes through the same process and the judges will then confer.
The judges, who include some of the complete legends of the London Coffee Scene are looking for:
Dribbles (or lack of)
Fullness of the cup
Formation of pattern
and many other things that they make up as they go along.
The judges, of which there are three, will then make a decision and on the count of three, point to the winning cup.
The winner goes through to the next round.
The prizes? Well all entry money goes into the pot, so that's £640. The Allegra London Coffee Festival have kindly put in £250, so that is £890 all up in cash. Last year Coffee Hit donated 1 x Baratza Grinder and a Rhino Hand grinder for 2nd and 3rd and Square Mile organised trophies and even more prizes, not to mention the glory and accolades and hopefully a bonus from your employer that comes with it. Along with this, Victoria Arduino will again be helping out with prizes, last year the winner Nico Halliday walked away with a single group espresso machine. NICE!!!
The judges confirmed so far include Dan Fellows (UK Barista Champion) from Origin, James Hoffman from Square Mile, Ben Townsend formerly of Espresso room, James Phillips from Dose, Andrew Tolley (World Barista Judge) from Taylor Street Baristas, former winners James Bailey of Workshop and Nico Halliday from Noble, multiple UK Latte Art Champion Dhan Tamang and lead judge for the fourth year, Glenn Watson.
Spaces are filling fast already, with most spaces on the first three heats already gone. To get involved, the best way is to come into our Eastcastle street and say 'I'm want to compete' and we will help you out.
At the heats, we will have light snacks for free and cheap beers available to purchase if you so desire and Square Mile are already in talks with one of London's iconic beer suppliers for the finals. Guests are welcome to watch and to support you on your way.
Also, it is not just limited to London baristas, anyone can enter. And seriously, every year now someone misses out on entering. Do not be late. Enter today.
Any queries, please email me direct. It's going to be brilliant, we look forward to seeing you.