Saturday, March 23, 2013

Best Espresso Shot!

The Bay Area Latte Art Competition is a series of contests held in San Francisco and Oakland, the only places in the Bay where people actually drink their coffee with art in their steamed milk. The most recent gathering of baristas and beret wearing latte artists was held at Contraband Coffee in Nob Hill, just a stones throw away from the Tenderloin, the difference being that in the former the crack you can acquire is from a hipster bending over in too tight of pants where as the latter is crack cocaine... Huzzah!
Look at all these fucking dorks spectating on who can be the best low paid artist

Having taken some serious steps in my artistic life I decided to join the competition. I arrived promptly at 6pm and was the second person to sign up, which I thought was odd, wouldn't caffeinated people be on time or at least anxious about it? The contest itself didn't start for an hour so I spent the next sixty minutes doing what everyone else was doing, engaging in small talk, indulging in paralyzing self doubt, harboring self esteem issues, and eating the free food.

Eventually I was called up to the barista station. A large contraption stood before me. My latte experience being limited to second rate machines I wasn't quite prepared for the technological device that would exude such pure capitalist devil juice. I stood next to a bearded man named Kevin as the two previous contestants waged battle. The contestants made their drinks and then displayed them before the judges whom decided on pure subjectivity whose was better. Kevin and I made some small chat while we waited for the judges' verdict on the previous bout. He worked at Contraband as a barista, yet didn't deem himself that skilled as a barista.
These are the machines of espresso weaponry. They make pure unadulterated capitalist devil juice.

Kevin was nervous. I was relaxed. I knew I had nothing to lose. Half the battle of a competition is showing up to compete. The official asked us what we'd like to use. I chose a cappuccino cup. Kevin did as well.  I filled up my metal tin with milk and used a long needle of a steamer to steam my milk. The milk whirled around and I worried that it wasn't getting enough air, I pulled up on it and gave it a little more air. I stamped the milk down. It looked good. I began to pour. The coffee was too milky as I poured. I pulled out and attempted to make a design in the cappuccino. There was too much milk in my twin. I leaked out a squiggle into a milky mess.

Yeah mine is on the left. So what!? Fuck you and your mom!
Kevin was done. I was done. We set our cups in front of the judges. I let them know that mine was the Japanese Kanji for failure. They pursed their lips and picked Kevin as winner. I shook his hand. It felt swampy from nerves. I walked off my head held high, after all I'd given it my best espresso shot.

1 comment:

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