Know Where Coffee celebrated its one-year anniversary with a latte art competition.
Fifteen baristas from around Florida competed head-to-head for the title of “Best Latte Art” at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Know Where Coffee, situated at 1226 W. University Ave.
About 40 guests attended the competition, enjoying the creative lattes the competing baristas whipped up.
“We thought the friendly competition would be a fun way to bring in the community to celebrate our anniversary and showcase some skills,” said Alfonso Guerrero, the founder and manager of Know Where Coffee.
The coffee shop prides itself on providing the best coffee quality. Everything is measured, weighed and timed to ensure the coffee produced is the best it can be from the products used.
Zeal Coffee Roasters sponsored and helped host the event by providing coffee for the competition.
“Making a latte may seem simple, but it can be complicated,” Guerrero said. “The milk changes the flavor, making it silky and smooth. It is more than a companion to the espresso; it enhances it.”
The latte competition was made into a bracket system, with the barista’s challenges changing during each bracket. The first bracket was creating art in latte cups, the second bracket in cappuccino cups and the third bracket in a cortado cup. The contestants competing for first place chose which cups they wanted to make their final art in.
The first-place prize was $100 and a home-brew kit. The second-place prize was $30 and coffee beans. The third-place prize was $10 and a Know Where Coffee mug.
The judges examined multiple aspects of the latte art presented to them. The judges looked at the color contrast, symmetry, level of difficulty and the milk texture in the latte to decide which art was superior to the other.
The lattes were placed onto the counter in squares marked by blue painters tape, one labeled A and the other B. The judges were unaware of which barista made each latte.
“I love coffee, so being able to judge this competition is really cool,” said Bret Larson, a judge of the competition and, an owner of Opus Coffee.
Some of the competitors had one year of experience, while others had five years or more.
Among the competition was Alfonso Guerrero and his brother Rodrigo Guerrero, who also works at Know Where Coffee.
“I have only been doing this for a year,” said Rodrigo Guerrero. “I’d like to win, but we’ll see what happens.”
As the competition ensued to the final two baristas, Justin Hall and Alfonso Guerrero approached the espresso machine. They swirled their cups of espresso and delicately poured milk into the cup to create a piece of art. The judges deliberated for minutes before pointing to latte B, making Alfonso Guerrero the winner of the latte art competition.
Hall, who won second place, has been a barista for four years and owns Spring Park Coffee in Green Cove Springs, Florida.
The second-place winner left with $30 and some coffee beans.
“I’ll probably use it to buy the gas to get home,” Hall joked.