Sacramento is bursting with hip, new cafes, shops and bars, and becoming a hot alternative to major cities. So much so that it is now the fourth most hipster city in America….and who could complain?
One of the more “hipster” events returning for its third year in a row, is SPLAT, more lengthily known as the Sacramento Public Latte Art Tournament. Every third Friday of the month from June to October, Naked Coffee, Old Soul, Temple Coffee and Chocolate Fish reprise their roles as hosts of the friendly competition, celebrating Sacramento’s most Instagram-able latte art.
Jeremiah Frazier, Wholesale Account Manager of Temple Coffee and spokesperson for SPLAT, points out the reasons this event is a competitive, but proud experience for everyone.
“I think SPLAT does a lot to emphasize that we are not just this mediocre city that is somewhere between San Francisco and Tahoe.” said Frazier. “We actually have our own identity and we want to be recognized as a leader not just in food and beverage industry but also the coffee industry. Sac has more award winning coffee roasters than any other city in the United States, so why not be recognized for that?”
SPLAT originated as a casual latte art throwdown at the Temple Coffee warehouse. It was inspired by Thursday Night Throwdowns, a series of small, intimate latte art competitions common in big cities such as Los Angeles or Portland. What Frazier and the SPLAT team wanted to do was to create something similar to Thursday Night Throwdowns but with no serious intimidation added. SPLAT prides itself on being a public competition where any barista could enter and anyone interested could watch.
Frazier believes SPLAT breaks the espresso bar barrier between barista and customer.
“In the last years prior to SPLAT baristas were relegated to their own little corner of the Sacramento coffee world,” said Frazier. “SPLAT has definitely given baristas an opportunity to get outside of their box and meet other people with similar interests.”
While SPLAT is open to participants traveling from San Francisco, Reno and Portland, Oregon, it still remains purely Sacramento at heart. SPLAT is here to bring justice to Sacramento and give it a spotlight over surrounding cities.
“The idea was that everybody loves going into their favorite cafe and getting a very decorative latte,” said Frazier. “To be able to create an arena platform and say ‘this guy does the best than everybody else in Sacramento’ encourages people, not just baristas, but also their customers to come out and support their favorite cafes.”
SPALT’s next competition takes place next Thursday, Aug. 25 at the Broadway Naked Coffee, followed another showdown on September 29 at the S St. Temple Coffee and the final event on October 15th at the Antique Maison Privee. All competitions are open to the public–but be sure to get there early as space is limited.
Baristas compete one on one to create the best latte art.
Lattes are displayed to the public via screen. Judges choose the cleanest art by choosing a colored post it. They do not know which barista poured which drink.
Photos provided by Kasey Furutani. Featured image provided by SPLAT Facebook page.