SPLAT: The Sacramento Summer Latte Art Series Kicks Off Its Fourth Season

The Sacramento Public Latte Art Tournament (SPLAT) kicks off its fourth season in late June, inviting baristas from all over the city to compete head-to-head in this summer latte art series.


Photos courtesy of Kelly Hill

Coffee enthusiasts and cafes alike in the city of Sacramento, Calif., are gearing up for the fourth annual Sacramento Public Latte Art Tournament, or SPLAT, set to start on June 29. “This tournament has been a real labor of love here in Sacramento,” shares Kelly Hill of Temple Coffee. “Lots of cafe cooperation and volunteers have made it super successful. We extended the brackets last year to accommodate 64 competitors.” Sacramento might not be the first California city you think of when you imagine a coffee destination, but there are a high number of excited baristas and specialty shops opening in the area who have embraced SPLAT and are helping it grow bigger and bigger every year.

Baristas in the Sacramento area spend their summers taking part in the SPLAT latte art tournament series. Photo courtesy of Chocolate Fish Roasters.

SPLAT is a series of latte art competitions (four in total along with a Grand Finale competition) that any barista can enter. The rules are simple: Baristas have to pour a specific design, depending on the round, and face off head-to-head in a bracket-style competition. Throughout, baristas are also collecting points, which will determine if they receive a place in the Grand Finale. Participants get points based on how well they do and if they place in one of the four preliminary tournaments, and baristas are required to participate in at least two of the qualifying events to secure a place in the Grand Finale.

SPLAT participants can compete in one of four latte art throwdowns, and compete for points to qualify for the Grand Finale.

You don’t have to be a latte art whiz or even a barista to attend a SPLAT event—all events are free to the public, and only those baristas wishing to compete have to pay an entrance fee ($5 ahead of time, $10 at the door). However, spots fill up fast, so once registration opens (registration for each throwdown opens a few weeks before each individual event), you should move quickly.

Winners of each latte art throwdown receive prizes.

SPLAT is truly a celebration of the growing coffee scene in Sacramento. “SPLAT … began in the summer of 2014 with a small following and a simple idea: open up a friendly, competitive playground for the honed craft of latte art,” the SPLAT website states. “The coffee scene in Sacramento has seen continuous growth in the subsequent years, and with that growth comes a rising interest in seeing what the area’s best latte artists can pour.” The tournaments will take place at some of Sacramento’s top coffee shops, kicking off at Old Soul Coffee and culminating at Vintage Monkey for the Grand Finale. “The Grand Finale will be sponsored by Temple Coffee Roasters and Chocolate Fish Coffee Roasters, among others, and will take place during Sacramento Specialty Coffee Week in October,” a press release states.

Ed Andrusyak (center) of Chocolate Fish Coffee Roasters won last year’s SPLAT competition, with Josiah Meeker (left) and Kelly Hill, both of Temple Coffee, as the runners-up.

The events will take place on the last Thursday of each month, starting in June and ending in October. To find out more about the event, you can check out the SPLAT website or contact the organizers at splatsac916@gmail.com.

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Ashley is the Online Editor for Barista Magazine. She's based in Chicago. If you want to share a story or have a comment, you can reach her at ashley@baristamagazine.com.