Monday night was the first of many “Latte Throwdowns” for Dallas baristas. I was honored to not only attend the event but also to be asked to judge. The organizers Jonathan Meadows (who got his start at Lake Highlands’ White Rock Coffee) and Nathan Shelton — who together started Cultivar Coffee — were ecstatic with the turnout. “This is big for Dallas baristas. We wouldn’t have had this turnout of contestants or onlookers a year ago,” said Meadows. Contestants came from all over the metroplex, including two from Houston and three from Austin.
A bracket was set up for the 16 competitors at Stir Coffee in Dallas. Stir is housed inside of Good 2 Go Taco, whose owners also showed up in support of the event. With a $10 entry fee, it was winner take all. Lorenzo Perkins of Austin, who happens to be the Regional Rep for the Barista Guild of America, took 1st place and the cash prize. Jared Hamilton, of Global Peace Factory in Frisco, proudly accepted 2nd place. This was not Jared’s first recognition of talent as Global reports that his pours have been photographed for multiple magazines. His prize was a $25 gift card to Good 2 Go Taco. Coming in 3rd was Nathan Shelton, roaster and part owner of Cultivar Coffee who also pours at Stir.
There are sure to be many more competitions in the future. Meadows hopes to host these events monthly at various coffee shops in the area. Admission is free, and you might happen to grab a free latte after they are judged. Around 30 were passed around that night. We all left a little jittery and massively entertained.