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Industry Throwdown 2023: You're Invited, and Here's What to Expect

Posted by Lori Bailey on

We here at Olympia Coffee are beyond excited for our upcoming Industry Throwdown, hosted at our Columbia City cafe in Seattle! On Friday, March 17th (which just so happens to be St. Patrick's Day), we're throwing wide our doors for an evening of coffee-crafting shenanigans as local baristas face off in a friendly community latte art competition.

Whether you're planning to throw down or simply coming to spectate, here's what you can expect.

Industry Throwdown hosted by Olympia Coffee

The basics

The event will be at Olympia Coffee in Columbia City: 4824 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118.

Doors open at 5:30pm on 3/17. First pour is at 6 pm.

Buy-in to compete is $10. Sign-ups are on a first-come, first-serve basis. So if you're eager to compete, get there early!

Entry is free of charge, and $5 will get you a raffle ticket for some sweet prizes from our amazing sponsors.

Mask-wearing is encouraged, but not required. Similarly, outrageous green attire and accessrories are highly encouraged—but no one will be throwing pinches.

And! There'll be snacks and sips for all to enjoy!

For competitors: rules & regulations

Code of conduct

First and foremost, Sea Level Coffee is dedicated to providing a harassment-free event experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, religion (or lack thereof), or technology choices. We do not tolerate harassment of event participants in any form. Sexual language and imagery is not appropriate for any event venue, including talks, workshops, parties, and online media. Event participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the event at the discretion of the event organizers.

Harassment includes offensive verbal comments related to gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, religion, technology choices, sexual images in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention.

Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately.

Sponsors are also subject to the anti-harassment policy. In particular, sponsors should not use sexualized images, activities, or other material. Event staff (including volunteers) should not use sexualized clothing/uniforms/costumes, or otherwise create a sexualized environment.

If a participant engages in harassing behavior, the event organizers may take any action they deem appropriate, including warning the offender or expulsion from the event.

If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact a member of event staff immediately.  
We expect participants to follow these rules at event and workshop venues and event-related social events.

 Throwdown rules & regulations

  1. This Throwdown will feature a standard single-elimination bracket-style for the first 32 competitors.  On signing up, contenders will be assigned a number, which will be randomly placed on the bracket using a random number generator.
    1. To ensure timeliness, contenders will be asked to stand “in the wings” during the previous match.  If we cannot find you at the beginning of your match, this will result in a forfeit on your behalf.
    2. If the bracket fills up prior to 5:45pm, we will begin a waitlist.  Contenders that cannot be found at the beginning of their match will be replaced with the first name on the waitlist. 
  2. All lattes will be made using a Slayer Steam LP.  Contenders will only be steaming milk; all shots of espresso will be pulled by the designated shot puller.  A brief overview of equipment will be given to contenders during the first round if necessary.
    1. All shots for all drinks  will be the equivalent of 1 double shot, roughly 40mL/1.75oz.
    2. Shots will be pulled using Auto-Volumetrics.  Contenders may not change or alter the recipe during the throwdown.
  3. All lattes will be poured in our sponsor ceramics, 8oz NotNeutral Lino latte mugs.
    1. Lattes will consist of the host's provided milk and coffee.  Contenders may not use their own milk or additives to the espresso (eg., chocolate sauce, cocoa powder, etc.) 
    2. All lattes will be free-pour; contenders will not be allowed to use additional tools to create latte art (eg., toothpicks, etching tools, spoons, etc.)
  4. Rounds 2 - 4 will feature our sponsors Minor Figures Oat Milk and Rishi Tea’s Barista Matcha.
    1. All contenders advancing into Round 2 will be required to use Minor Figures Oat Milk for their pour.
      1. The Training Lab behind the main service bar will feature a Minor Figures take-over, where baristas can practice using Minor Figures Oat M*lk if they’ve never used it before.
    2. All contenders advancing into Round 3 will be pouring matcha lattes, using Rishi Tea’s Barista Matcha, with a recipe of 2g of matcha whisked into 30g of water.  All matcha will be prepared by the designated shot puller, directly into cups for pouring.
    3. All contenders advancing to the semi-finals will be pouring matcha lattes made with Rishi Tea’s Barista Matcha and Minor Figures Oat Milk for their pour.

Throwdown procedure

Round 1: 16 head-to-head matches using Smith Brothers whole milk.
Round 2: 8 head-to-head matches using Minor Figures Barista Oat Milk
Round 3: 4 head-to-head matches using Rishi Tea’s Barista Matcha and Smith Brothers whole milk
Round 4: 2 head-to-head matches using Rishi  Tea’s Barista Matcha and Minor Figures Barista Oat Milk
Final Round: 2 head-to-head matches using Smith Brothers whole milk.

Judging Criteria

All judges will be using the same criteria to determine a winner for the match:

  • Contrast
    Contrast means that there is a stark, sharp contrast between the white milk foam and brown crema.

  • Symmetry/Balance
    Symmetry means that if the cup is folded in half, the design will be mirrored equally on both halves of the cup.  If a design is not symmetrical intentionally, judges will critique the balance of the design in the cup.  Balance means that the pattern presented is positioned aesthetically in the cup.

  • Complexity
    Preference will be given to difficult patterns if both contrast and symmetry/balance have been successfully achieved in the design.  A well-executed, simple pour will have preference over a poorly-executed, complex pour.

  • Visual Quality of Foam
    Judges will assess the visual quality of the foam, looking for a shiny, glossy surface, free of large bubbles.

  • Presentation and Cleanliness
    Judges will assess the overall presentation of the latte.  If contenders are tightly matched, cup cleanliness (drips, spills, fingerprints, etc) and presentation (latte art facing judges, handle positioning) will be taken into account.


    Questions? Reach out to us ahead of the event at Otherwise, polish off those latte art skills, and we'll see you Friday for a fun evening!

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