Hood River Barista Jam!

I waited a bit to post this because I wanted to make sure everyone had the opportunity to read all of Emily’s great post about her time in Wellington, New Zealand. If you missed it, it’s still here — just scroll down below my post.

SO! The First Annual Hood River Barista Jam was an enormous success! At around 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 22, I piled into Chrissy Hoag’s car with Stumpies Stephen, David George and Talon. Besides being a Stumptown wholesale-trix, Chrissy is co-owner of Dog River Coffee in Hood River, where the event would take place.

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Maybe part of the reason Hood River is such a destination spot in Oregon is that it was a little oasis of sunshine after a string of stormy days in Portland, so we were off to a good start.

When we walked in, the place was already slammin. Nate Devol, who also co-owns Dog River and is the man-on-the-scene day-to-day operations manager was pleased and proud as all get-out that his baristas had taken full ownership of the event. Chief organizers Sara and Clara worked with the rest of the staff to create a night of learning about and celebrating coffee through a cupping, continuous play of Stumptown‘s origin films, and a damn well organized and efficient ltte art competition if I ever saw one. They had even rigged up a TV screen so that the sizable corwd could see the pours! Only slightly different than the Coffee Fest version, baristas were given five minutes or three pours, whichever came first.

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Here are Clara and Sara, organizers extraordinaire
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Here’s the cupping of Stumptown coffees, led by Allen

Judges of the latte art competition were Andrea Golts, editor of the Hood River-based arts magazine, rediviva (a super cool mag — check it out if you can!), a guy named Jerry who is a Dog River regular and coffee connisseur (I really liked Jerry!), and yours truly. Here’s Ben from 10 Speed Coffee pouring:

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And here’s Nate, Mr. Dog River, with the trophy. Nate actually was the former latte art champ of Dog River, and he poured during this competition in an effort to hold onto his title (and awesome trophy, of course). He hopes to decorate the trophy with all the names of future latte art champs from future events.
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Competitors came from Dog River as well as nearby coffee hangout 10 Speed Coffee, and there was even an enthusiastic and very talented home barista who submitted some great pours.

The baristas who did such a damn fine job organizing this event had included a dj and also some yummy food from a local restaurant. And oh yeah, there was beer — really good beer (and I’m not referring to the Rainier y’all broke out after the good beer was gone). Basically, it was just a good-time-fest.

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At the end of the evening, the amazing Phinny was named the new latte art champion. Congrats to Phinny! And see you in Hood River for the next event!

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