Cikopi Latte Art Throwdown 2012 at 1/15

I went to 1/15 Coffee today for some cups of excellence that Hendri Kurniawan got from top roasters around the world. And a little bit of work. The plan included to attend Latte Art Showdown held by Toni Wahid‘s Cikopi as a mere observer. My easy and light Saturday was drastically changed when Adi W. Taroepratjeka – upon opening the event – suddenly called my name to come up front to become of the three judges. How did he come up with the idea – God only knows.

Some of the creations presented to the judges on the first round of Latte Art Throwdown. Really love the rosetta.

I was then seated in the middle of the multifunction space on the second floor of 1/15, altogether with Adi W. Taroepratjeka and Michael Gibbons. On the first round, the eighteen contestants were divided into to nine groups of two. The pair would compete by presenting a pattern of latte art of their choices. Judges would pick one of each pair as the semi finalist. So much power, alright.

Both Gibbons and Taroepratjeka would have a thorough technical consideration in each judging round. While me; I guess my limited knowledge on aesthetics, and my so-called reputation as an F&B reviewer – or a bitch, basically – would justify my judgement.

More creations by the contestants. I vote the middle one for the most unique.

It only took me a few minutes after the first presentation was done by the first two contestants to find joy in judging a latte art competition. The rosettas, the tulips, the waves, and many more came two by two, and all we judgest had to do was to point our fingers to which one that we found visually appealing. In between presentations, Gibbons would mock my iPhone 4S and boast his HTC-something-something. (Who actually cares to memorize the names of android smartphones, really?) Bloody hell, Gibbons – if it’s not Apple, then it’s not worth having, a’ight?

That’s the thing when hanging out with coffee lovers in Jakarta. It’s a small and intimate community. You get friendly with new acquintances in a flash because we talk about nothing but coffee, food, and sometimes a little bit of travelling. By the time we finished the first round, we were like old buddies already. We took a break and went downstairs where accidental committee Daniel Kaurrany brewed me a cup of latte. With no art. His cuppa was as cheerful and passionate as he himself is.

The next round was semi final. It’s a bit mean. We had nine semi finalist. Each of them would withdraw a small piece of paper on which the next challenge for them was written. Three of them were assigned to create a swan pattern, and none of them could achieve it properly. Others got tulips (with at least three layers), rosetta, and double rosetta. Each one of them would present their cuppa to us judges, and all we had to do was either to point or thumbs up or down. Lucky we didn’t release the lions.

Mohammad Aga from Mrs. Fields (middle, in red) was the champion of Latte Art Throwdown, posing with Toni Wahid of Cikopi.com. The two latte arts were Aga’s creations.

At the end of the round, we got three finalists. Each of them had the freedom to make whatever pattern they’d like to. I had doubts between the second and the third one, but finally went with the third one. Gibbons happened to share the same idea with me, while Taroepratjeka picked the second one. So, finally contestant Muhammad Aga from Mrs. Fields was approved by both android and Apple users – peace, yo! – to get the first prize; one million Rupiah from Cikopi.

Congratulations, Aga! And, Happy 4th Anniversary, Cikopi! Yay!

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