A foamy throwdown

Latte Art contest at Origin Coffee

Stacey Judge pours microfoam into a cup of espresso at Saturday night’s Latte Art Throwdown at Origin Coffee Company.

SARANAC LAKE — Tulips, leaves, hearts and flowers were poured into fresh shots of espresso, as more than two dozen looked on at Origin Coffee Company’s Latte Art Showdown Saturday night.

Eight baristas went head to head in a latte-art-making tournament. Using Specialty Coffee Association regulations and criteria, the art was judged by three coffee shop owners, who pointed to the winning cup in each match-up.

The winner received a cash prize and Origin merchandise.

“Balance, distinct difference between the actual foam and espresso,” Chris Rosenquest, one of the throwdown judges and owner of Chapter One Coffee in Plattsburgh, said of what he was looking for in a winning cup. “Really clean microfoam, the design itself and creativity.”

Origin owner Jacinda Wilson said the event had been in the works for about a month now — it’s a regular thing in large cities where there’s a coffee culture, she said. Usually they’re called Thursday night throwdowns, where baristas from around the area can get together.

Origin Coffee Company’s Latte Art Throwdown Champion Hannah Johnson pours microfoam on Saturday. (Enterprise photo — Jesse Adcock)

“It just takes a steady hand,” said Stacey Judge, Origin barista and event finalist.

“It’s an honor to be invited here this evening,” said Hannah Johnson, owner of Cabra Coffee in Cedar Crest, New Mexico, winner of the night’s event. She said she first got into latte art about four years ago, after meeting Wilson at a barista training camp. The trick to a tournament-winning latte?

“Don’t overthink it,” Johnson said.

Two competitors at Origin Coffee Company’s Latte Art Throwdown pour microfoam into a cup of espresso. (Enterprise photo — Jesse Adcock)

Two cups of latte art await judgement at Saturday night’s Latte Art Throwdown at Origin Coffee Company. (Enterprise photo — Jesse Adcock)

Judges gesture to the winning cup at Origin Coffee Company’s Latte Art Throwdown on Saturday. (Enterprise photo — Jesse Adcock)