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Latte Art Contest Pits Barista against Barista in Quest for Best Foam Design
Press release from Coffee Fest, Date: January 29, 2008
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Latte Art Contest Pits Barista against Barista in Quest for Best Foam Design

Blind Judging and Leader Board Ups Ante for Competitors

Seattle, Wash. – January 29, 2008 – The Millrock Free Pour Latte Art Championship at Coffee Fest is gathering steam as the annual contest adds blind judging and a leader scoreboard to the much-awaited contest. This and an increased winner’s purse, are sure to stir up competitive fires among the 40 baristas who will gather at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., on February 15-17, to vie for first place.

The 40 baristas that made it through the written application process will compete for 10 finalist spots at preliminary rounds on Friday and Saturday from 9a.m.-12p.m.  The finals will commence on Saturday evening at 5:30p.m.

“Latte art is aesthetically pleasing but to create these designs, a barista has to know coffee and coffee making and all of its nuances,” points out David Heilbrunn, Coffee Fest show manager. “We hope to further elevate the profile of a championship that is a lighthearted take on making a seriously good cup of coffee.”

Only the Cup Counts

This year, Coffee Fest organizers strove for the fairest competition and took contestants’ looks, personality, and relationships out of the equation.  The three judges will not be able to see or hear the competitors.  Only the artfully designed drink placed in front of the judges will be scored – a score based exclusively on the pour.

Another shift in the competition is immediate scoring. Drawing comparisons to the “kiss and cry” area at Olympic Ice Skating events, contestants and the audience will view scores for each competitor directly following the competitors’ pours. Each contestant will know exactly where they stand throughout the competition.

The Washington, D.C., area will be represented by baristas from Caffe Pronto in Annapolis, MD, and Murky Coffee in Arlington, Va., and downtown D.C. They join a group of international contestants hailing from as far away as Vancouver, Canada and Tokyo, Japan, and urban hotspots in between – San Francisco, Seattle and Chicago.

The most deft combination of technical expertise and artistic whimsy will yield the top prize of $5,000. The second place winner will receive $1,000 and third place victor will pull in $500. These not-so-small sums signify a growing sophistication in the coffee industry when it comes to coffee preparation and presentation. Millrock Free Pour Latte Art Championships is presented by Barista Magazine, Nuova Simonelli and Dillanos Coffee Roasters.

About Coffee Fest

Coffee Fest has been bringing the specialty coffee, gourmet tea and alternative beverage industry professionals together since 1992 when the show first got its start as a consumer coffee festival in Seattle. Since 1998, “the little show that could,” Coffee Fest has gathered coffee retailers, roasters, distributors and manufacturers together for thrice annual trade shows to help attendees build and refine their businesses, get the first peek at new products and remain current with coffee and tea industry trends. Coffee Fest will host its first show off the mainland in Hawaii in June, 2008. In November 2008, Coffee Fest goes international with its debut show in Hong Kong. For more information about all the shows, go to www.coffeefest.com

Media Contact:

Kathleen Finn
503.887.2998 (cell)

David Heilbrunn
425.283.5058, ext. 113

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