Barista ‘Smackdown’ a monthly event

Main Street Bagels Barista Vinny Reuss was the first winner of the monthly “Saturday Night Smackdown.”

Most coffee drinkers make automatic drip with their eyes still half-closed but a true barista knows there’s more to making an excellent cup of coffee than just pushing start.

Main Street Bagels has issued a steamy challenge to local baristas who want to perfect the art of the latte by competing in a monthly “Saturday Night Smackdown.”

Owner Mark Smith said competitions between baristas of locally-owned coffee shops are trendy events in larger cities. “It highlights not only ‘latte art’ but brings up the quality of coffee served by the whole industry,” Smith explained.

Smith said these challenges raise the bar and are another part of the intricate coffee culture. He’s hoping many of the locally-owned coffee shops will send their baristas to compete and offer to host the monthly events.

The first “Smackdown” took place last weekend at the Main Street Bagels location on the Mesa State College campus. Five professional coffee-makers competed and the event was attended by staff from Four Winds Coffee and Tea,  Aspen Street Cafe in Fruita, and Colorado Legacy Roasters.

Each barista has six minutes to make two perfect cups of coffee. The cups are judged by a set criteria which includes quality of foam, espresso and the pattern made when the two liquids mix. Most commonly a cup of latte is decorated with a rosetta or heart.

Smith judged the first competition but hopes to add several other judges as the event grows.

The winner of Saturday’s event was Vinny Reuss of Main Street Bagels.

Although a competition, Smith said it is more about sharing ideas among baristas and supporting other local businesses.

The competitions are great way for the public to learn more about the quality of coffee and techniques that are used to make that morning cup of joe.

The next “Smackdown” will take place at 6 p.m. May 1 at Main Street Bagels downtown.


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