New York Coffee Festival's Latte art 'throwdowns' pit barista against barista The third annual New York Coffee Festival is pitting some of the country's best baristas against each other in a series of "latte art throwdowns." Photo Credit: The New York Coffee Festival Updated October 9, 2017 6:55 PM Print Share fbShare Tweet gShare Email Who can make the best latte in three minutes time? That’s the question a series of “latte art throwdowns” — pitting some of the country's most accomplished baristas against one another — will answer at the third annual New York Coffee Festival, taking place this weekend at the Metropolitan Pavilion at 125 W. 18th St. “You’re looking for symmetry, you’re looking for a full pour, but not an over-pour, and contrast,” or a defined pattern, said Jeffrey Young, the festival’s founder, of the judges’ criteria. “What this is testing is the barista’s real skills under pressure, as they are in a cafe.” Latte art comes in three flavors, Young explained. There’s free pour latte art, the product of a barista pouring steamed milk into a cup of espresso “all in one go” to create motifs like leaves, ferns and swans. There’s etching, “where you’re taking the coffee and actually drawing, using the coffee as a painting medium” to illustrate celebrities’ faces and other complex forms, Young said. And then there’s the “unicorn” style, which uses foods and spices like beets, turmeric and matcha to color beverages and make them “bright and vibrant.” But latte art is more than a pretty picture, Young added: “There’s actually a technical reason why latte art makes coffee tastes better: effectively, it’s texturing milk ... in such a way that the bubbles are a small as possible. Just like with fine champagne, the smaller the bubbles, the more appealing the mouthfeel is.” Young describes that texture as “velvety.” Gone are the days when a barista could blast milk with a steamer and then plop a dollop of foam on top of your cappuccino, the coffee expert said. In the industry and among customers, latte art now “demonstrates that [a coffee shop] is an establishment of quality.” The latte art competitions at the New York Coffee Festival — a three-day event featuring coffee tastings, interactive workshops, demonstrations, street food and live music for industry professionals and coffee lovers — attract massive crowds, according to Young. Size up some of the contenders with a look at their past work below: Stelios Dimitriadis Thursday's is always my favorite #swan #swanlatteart #coffee #latteart #eastvillage #manhattan #nyc #newyork #barista #baristalife #love #baristatrainernyc #goodmorning A post shared by Stelios Dimitriadis (@baristanewyork) on Jan 19, 2017 at 9:22am PST macchiato lover #macchiato #latteart #newyork #baristanewyork #espresso #macchiato #baristalife #barista #brooklyn #nyc A post shared by Stelios Dimitriadis (@baristanewyork) on Sep 21, 2017 at 9:34am PDT Dimitriadis is an independent consultant working in New York City. Walt Deezy May the 4th be with you #starwars #may4th #maytheforcebewithyou A post shared by Walt Deezy (@barista_dee) on May 4, 2017 at 12:07pm PDT They call him Senior Pablo Panda #the #life #of #pablo #panda #craft #coffee #art #passion #matcha #green #tea #Thursday #flow A post shared by Walt Deezy (@barista_dee) on Aug 11, 2016 at 8:37am PDT Deezy is representing Rosalind Coffee, which is located in Garland, TX. Jai Lott The Indian Elder A post shared by @coffeewithjai on Aug 10, 2015 at 5:59am PDT Happy Saint Patrick's Day guys ☘️ A post shared by @coffeewithjai on Mar 17, 2017 at 7:18am PDT Lott is the coffee director at Bluestone Lane, a chain with multiple locations in Manhattan. UJ Lee Don't forget someone always be right next to you 😘😘 A post shared by UJ (@ujae_) on Aug 29, 2017 at 2:48pm PDT 왠지 모르게 센치하다. A post shared by UJ (@ujae_) on Aug 2, 2017 at 6:38pm PDT Lee is representing Sweet Moment, which is located at 106 Mott St. in Little Italy. Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Comments Comments section is temporarily on hold. Here’s why.