Making the perfect latte takes a lot of skill, endurance and practice. Throw in latte art, and making a prize-winning cup of joe ups the ante.
For baristas from Texas and Louisiana, Joe Pine Coffee Co.’s Latte Art Throwdown held Saturday, on the business’s second anniversary, gave them a chance to put their skills to the test.
“Joe Pine was founded on community. We wanted a place that serves the very best coffee, but also embodies our values of ETX, which, to us, is much more than our love for East Texas,” founder Jill Davis said. “We break it down like this – ‘E’ — everyone matters, ‘T’ — transforming community, and ‘X’ — experience is paramount. We are so proud to be in downtown Marshall.”
Davis is the one of the founders of Joe Pine’s along with her husband, Geoffrey, and their friends, Stacey and David Splawn.
Along with serving cups of coffee, the business is about serving others as well. On its first anniversary, it donated 100 percent of its proceeds to Mission Marshall. This year, during the Latte Art Throwdown, the business invited the public and those competing to bring cans of food to donate to the East Texas Food Bank. In lieu of entry fees, each competitor was required to donate 10 cans of food.
Despite having no monetary entries fees, a wide range of prizes were assembled, along with bragging rights, from coffee shops throughout East Texas, including Silver Grizzly Espresso of Longview, Moor Coffee Co. in Shreveport and Tweed Coffee Co. in Dallas.
For first place, Tweed Coffee Co. provided a home coffee bar and a $100 gift card to Joe Pine. Second place received a $50 gift card to Silver Grizzly Espresso along with lots of swag. The third place finisher received a $25 gift card from Moor Coffee Co.
During the standing room only event, competitors were set up in a bracket style with the winners of each bracket advancing to the next round (think March Madness.) In the first round, baristas had to make hearts on top of their lattes with steamed milk. The second round was tulips, and the third round was rosettas.
The last round was freestyle, where baristas were allowed to put their creative skills to the ultimate test.
All competing barristas were required to be employed at a coffee shop somewhere in East Texas or western Louisiana.
As the lattes were completed, they were donated to spectators so the frothy goodness did not go to waste.
After hours of competition, the ultimate winner was Silver Grizzly Espresso, since all three baristas who placed work at the coffee shop. First place went to Chad Smith, while second place went to Conner Ditmore and third place Dana Huber.
Throughout the competition vendors were outside the establishment helping Joe Pine take care of crowds watching the event. Pazzeria by Pietro’s, down the street from the coffee shop, provided craft beer and food. Ridiculous Brand and Threads made custom T-shirts feature Big Foot consuming a latte for those interested in commemorating the night.
Joe Pine’s staff also filled custom coffee orders outside throughout the night since the inside coffee bar was in use for the throwdown, proving that the “joe” must go on.
Throughout the competition, an aerial live view of the finished coffee art was broadcast on the wall for audience members. The competition was judged by Dinora and Joseph Harris, owners of Pietros, and Jake Williams.
Joe Pine’s is at at 207 N. Washington Ave. in Marshall.