New Judges and More Money at the Latte Art Competition at Coffee Fest!

Coffee Fest announces new rules for the Latte Art competitions, including all new judges and bigger cash prizes. That’s right—more cash for the winner.


Photos courtesy of Coffee Fest

Coffee Fest announced that it will be revamping its famed Latte Art competitions, which take place during every Coffee Fest event. Coffee Fest is a trade-only (meaning just for coffee pros) coffee event that showcases the regional coffee community in a series of ever-changing regional events. This year, Coffee Fest will host three trade shows: one in Los Angeles, in August, one in Denver, in June, and one in Baltimore, in March, where the new rules and format will debut.

Coffee Fest is a traveling event, popping up in cities across the country every year.

Coffee Fest staff looked to the coffee community to see where they could improve the competition. “Coffee Fest prides itself on serving the coffee community. We asked the industry professionals, and they told us where we could improve,” says Erika Lowery, Coffee Fest show director. “With Joshua Boyt continuing to entertain the crowd as emcee and Chris Deferio leading the judge panel, streamlined calibration, and evolved seeding, we are confident that participants will see exciting improvements at our 2018 Latte Art venues.”

Some of the rule changes include new judges and a bigger cash prize, but the bracket-style format will remain the same.

One of the biggest changes will be on the judges’ side of the table—Chris Deferio from the Keys to the Shop podcast and past champion will serve as head judge for all three 2018 Coffee Fest Latte Art competitions. Joining Chris will be Terika Raak from La Marzocco, who has also competed and placed at CoffeeFest’s Latte Art competitions, along with serving as a judge in other barista competitions. The third seat will remain empty for a member of the local coffee community to participate. In the upcoming competition in Baltimore, this seat will be filled by Michael Harwood, director of coffee for Ceremony Coffee Roasters and accomplished barista competitor.

In an effort to encourage all participants to show up, a $30 entrance fee is being introduced, which will go directly to the cash prize for the winners.

One of the reasons the Coffee Fest Latte Art competitions are so famous is the large cash prize—and this year that prize will be even bigger. “In an effort to reduce no-show competitors on-site, a $30 competition entry fee will now be a part of the application process,” says Renee Wulf, Coffee Fest conference manager. “This is purely a way to ask competitors to have skin in the game, and something we found common in other latte art competitions and throwdowns. The entry fee is directly rolled back into the prize money and awarded to the first-, second-, and third-place winners.” First place will earn $2,500, second will receive $1,500, and third will get $1,000. The format of the competition will remain the same, with a bracket-style competition that whittles down competitors from 64 to one winner.

The next Coffee Fest Latte Art competition will happen at Coffee Fest Baltimore on March 16-18—you can check out the slate of baristas who will be competing here. To register to attend Coffee Fest and find more information about future events, check out the Coffee Fest website.

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