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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Brew barista wins latte art contest

Alicia+Rutherford+practices+pouring+before+the+latte+art+competition+at+Tavo+Coffee+Co.+on+Friday+Oct.+6%2C+2023.
Photo by Ani Tummalapalli

Alicia Rutherford practices pouring before the latte art competition at Tavo Coffee Co. on Friday Oct. 6, 2023.

The second latte art throwdown of the year attracted 10 baristas to participate in a knockout-style competition at Tavo Coffee Co. in Downtown Bryan.

After the first “Throwdown Showdown,” held at POV Coffee House earlier this March, Tavo’s co-owners Cathy and Gustavo Román, Class of 2016 and 2017, respectively, said they were asked to host next. The throwdown began at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 6 and consisted of four rounds of latte art styles with prizes for first, second and third along with a winner-take-all cash prize.

Jared DeVerna, a communication sophomore at Blinn from The Brew Coffeehouse, won first place, followed by nursing senior Emma Chrane from Tavo in second and visualization graduate student Marina Trevino from Tavo in third. DeVerna has been working at The Brew for four years and said he had never competed in a latte art throwdown before.

“It was definitely the nerves I normally don’t feel when I’m working behind [the] bar,” DeVerna said. “But it was good, I like the competitive nature — the friendly competitive nature of it. So it was lots of fun.”

Wholesale coordinator at Greater Goods Coffee Co. Danny Toro, Assistant Director for the Center for Coffee Research & Education at Texas A&M Eric Brenner and local photographer and coffee enthusiast Justin Myers judged the competition. Toro said she has been in the coffee industry for six years and an employee at Greater Goods for two, where she trains baristas around Texas.

“At Greater Goods, we’re always just helping out different charities,” Toro said. “Being someone that used to be in the Austin coffee community … I thought it’d be a good idea to kind of just support the local communities around Texas, not just Austin.”

The first round of the competition started with a monk’s head design, followed by heart, tulip and rosetta. Despite pouring latte art for years, Cathy said the basics can still be difficult. Cathy has certifications in barista training, milk science and espresso, according to Tavo’s website.

“[For] some baristas, it depends how they were trained,” Cathy said. “It also depends on what they favor the most … I feel like heart is something that we kind of just all turn away from, and after we’ve done … so many other things for a long time, we kind of forget how to make that.”

The grand prize included a box from Destination Bryan filled with  a water bottle, two free pizzas from The Wild Garlic, a pitcher from Slow Pour and a deluxe coffee from Proud Mary and other items, Cathy said.
“Coffee is a really hard industry to be a part of, and so I think it’s really great to empower all the baristas who are there and to build confidence and be able to take on challenges and things in the coffee world,” Toro said.

Tavo wants to hold latte art showdowns quarterly, Gustavo said, with the next one being this December.

“It’s just cool to see the community really come together around coffee, because that’s what we really try to do here with specialty coffee and having a higher bar of excellence out of our drinks,” Gustavo said. “We just really like seeing that there is a need and a demand for this kind of environment, this kind of level of coffee brewing and latte art throwdowns.”

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About the Contributor
Anna Deardorff
Anna Deardorff, Special Sections Editor
Anna is a communication senior from Frisco, minoring in journalism. Anna is the Special Sections Editor of Maroon Life Magazine for spring of 2024.
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