Do You See What Happens?

LRBC front door last night

This is what happens when you combine beer, baristas, and shit-talking.

Beer in a soup pot, naturally

Put together in ultimate last-minute "lets-plan-a-party" fashion, this is how it came to be that the Little Red Bike Cafe hosted an event this past Saturday night that was dubbed (likely by January) "PDX: Tamp Your Face Off."

Tyler's tattoo

The initial idea was quite simple really: create an opportunity for baristas, industry folk, coffee aficionados, and the like to hang out and talk shop in celebration of that magical fruit which we all worship. Beer naturally seemed an appropriate accompaniment. As soon as a potential date for this get together was thrown out there, Ray and January sprang into action and helped ensure that we were going to have a memorable night.

Tyler's Tamp

After just a few days, two blog posts, and a couple of Barista Exchanges, we found ourselves at the cafe at 6:00pm on a Saturday night, with only Ray and 72 cans of ice cold Tecate. We waited...no one came. We each opened a beer. Before long we found ourselves surrounded by warm friendly faces, some old, and many new. Espresso was enjoyed, a few beers as well (not to mention shots of whiskey milkshakes), some milk steaming, and good conversation. It was exactly what we had hoped for, an opportunity to communally celebrate this thing we all love so much, without trying to be uptight or pretentious about any of it.

Matt's vessel

Naturally however, some good hearted competition seemed fitting, as is the norm when a bunch of baristas get together, or so I am told. We stepped back and let the pros take over this portion of the evenings festivities. Here's how it worked: competitors put names into a hat, were given a practice run, and names were randomly selected by one of the three judges. When a competitor's name was drawn, she/he had one opportunity to pour a latte into of vessel of their choosing. Judging criteria was broken down into three main categories: latte art, creativity of vessel, and how well you talked shit throughout the competition.

Natasha's feet

Natasha from the Half & Half was clearly at a disadvantage; while she is well trained on a Synesso, the one at her shop sits much lower than ours so she relied on our phonebook to give her an extra couple of inches.

Competitors await the results

Competition was fierce, given that there were some real gunslingers who showed up. Nonetheless, some were at a distinct disadvantage due to the fact that they were not aware they were required to bring their own vessel. Vessel choices ranged from butter dish lids, to mason jars, moka pots, beer cans, and the winning vessel, a broken glass bottle that you wouldn't want to go up against in a streetfight. Here are the results:
3rd place tie: Evan, LRBC and Natasha, Half & Half
2nd place: Tyler, Sweet Masterpiece
1st place: Ray, LRBC

Score Sheet

Good fun. Big thanks to Joel for roasting the espresso and judging, Sunshine Dairy for providing us with some free milk to steam, Ray and January for inspiration as well as initiative, and everyone who showed up. We had a lot of fun, and can't wait to do it again.

And now for some of the art produced over the course of the evening:


Catherine said...

Now that's a competition.

Kendal said...

I think the tecate latte is my favorite thing of the year so far.

High Plains Drifters said...

Tyler's tat is just one notch cooler than the Jittery Joe's logo.

Very inspiring stuff here!