Throwdowns get some mainstream press

Seems like only a couple of months ago that Ben Helfen was writing stories about latte art throwdowns for our little magazine. And now in a city abuzz with news with the passing of health care reform, the Washington Post has taken the time to talk to Ben, and many others, about what’s really newsworthy: the District’s barista scene (and the role throwdowns play in it).

I’m trying to decide if this is my favorite quote: “I’m 90 percent certain that people had been drinking and went back to the shop to see who could pour the best art,” said Ben Helfen, head barista at Octane Coffee Bar & Lounge in Atlanta. Or if this is: “It really gives coffee professionals that ‘nerd time,’ for lack of a better term,” said Helfen. “Yet it can be a totally non-elitist thing.”

Either way, it’s a very good story and it’s always good for the general public to see a little more about the craft of the barista and the community that keeps growing.

About the Author

Ken

Kenneth R. Olson is co-founder and publisher of Barista Magazine the worldwide trade magazine for the professional coffee community. He has written extensively about specialty coffee, traveled near and far for stories, activities, and fun, and been invited to present on topics important to coffee culture. He is also an avid fan of the Portland Trail Blazers and the Washington Huskies. Go Blazers! Go Dawgs!