So that was massive. The people cleared out, the room was empty and we went 'wow, so that was amazing'. The biggest crowd ever to come to a smackdown at Kaffeine rammed into our Eastcastle street store last night to cheer on their baristas as they battled for cash, prizes, an SCAE qualification course, huge trophies and never ending fame and glory.
We put 75 beers in the fridge in anticipation and after about 30 minutes we had run out and had to put more in the freezer for quick chilling. We killed the lights above the crowd, put on Underworld Live at the Roundhouse for tunes and kicked off. BOOM.
We were honoured to have lead judge and photographer Glenn Watson, World Barista Judge, Director of Taylor Street Baristas and World Tea Brewing Championship runner up Andrew Tolley and the editor of London's Best Coffee and 'superstar in his own mind' Phil 'Bassplayer' Wain as judges in what was also the highest calibre of latte art ever seen. With a superb prize pool donated form sponsors from Square Mile Coffee, Estate Dairy, Coffee Hit and Victoria Arduino it is no wonder.
Winners through to the finals from round 1 are:
Will from Origin
Sam from Kaffeine
Radu from Coopers Coffee
Joseph from Climpsons
This week we are honoured again to have Glenn back as lead judge, to be joined by Director of Square Mile Coffee, World Barista Champion and author of the World Coffee Atlas James Hoffman as well as one of the pioneers of the London coffee scene, founder and Director of Dose Espresso James Phillips.
Competitors in Round Two include:
Joao from Lab espresso
Jack from Origin
Paul from Origin
Luis from The Attendant
Sam from Upshot
Chloe from Kaffeine
Tom from Store Street
Jaspher form Oxford
Evan from Cuisine de Poilane
Chad form Chief Coffee
A mystery competitor from Notes - (might it be fabio himself?)
Tom from Overeasy
Katrina from Saint Espresso
and another mystery competitor from Climpsons
Photos from last night are already up on Flickr - check this out and remember #smackdown16 across all social media channels.
I'm off to get more beers in. See you next Friday.