GENEVA – High-octane competition will rev up from 6 to 9 p.m. May 23 at the third annual Barista Skills Throwdown benefit put on by FreshGround Roasting of Geneva and hosted at the nearby Penrose Brewing Company.
The cost to compete for prizes is $10, and spectators are welcome to the interactive evening for free. Proceeds from bids for the competition beverages and for artisan coffee mugs will be donated to Water Street Studios in Batavia.
“We’re trying to raise $511 for a new pottery wheel in their ceramics lab,” said Eric Andersen, owner of FreshGround Roasting. “We’ve done a lot of work with Water Street in the past. We’re a sponsor with them. [It’s] a natural fit.”
The throwdown will begin pouring at 7 p.m., and the competition is broader than many. Andersen said the action will open with latte art, but also extends to such talents as working with alternative milk and dialing in a grinder and machine to certain specifications. The fastest and most accurate barista wins.
“One of the fun things for people attending [is they] will be able to bid on [beverages and] custom-made mugs,” Andersen said. “Jeremy Foy, a ceramic artist from Water Street Studios, made a bunch of mugs for us. The competitors will be pouring [into] those.”
People with winning bids will be able to keep the mugs and enjoy the coffee. Andersen said they looked at ways to involve spectators in the event and keep them entertained.
He said they also fine-tuned the competition to reduce waste during the course of the contest rounds and to highlight some of the other skills besides latte art that baristas require.
Anderson said he expects starting the evening with a bracket of 16 baristas from across the region.
This will be the first throwdown he has set up at Penrose Brewing Company, 509 Stevens St., Geneva. To register to compete, visit shawurl.com/3b7k.