It was the biggest crowd of the whole four weeks. There was seriously no more room at the inn as about 50 people crammed into Eastcastle street to watch the final heats and see who the final four would be to go to Square Mile on October 7th.
Unfortunately, two of our pre-planned judges could not make it on the night, but we were still honoured to be able to have lead judge and superstar photographer Glenn Watson and last minute saviour, the Director of Curators Coffee Catherine Seay in the mix and then I jumped in myself to be a judge and to put even more pressure on the competitors as well as MC'ing the evening.
We dropped the lights again, and kicked off with Faithless Live at the Brixton Academy for tunes. The atmosphere was electric, with cheap beer, free food, anticipation, excitement, 90's rave music nerves and good humour and we soon kicked off into the final round of 16.
In the end, these guys got through to the finals.
Daniel from Kaffeine
Jakub from Prufrock
Julius from Second Shot
Wendy from Second Shot
So this Friday we move over to the roastery at Square Mile for the finals with the top 16 baristas competing for prizes, cash and glory. We have an SCAE certification course as well as trophies donated by Victoria Arduino, coffee subscriptions from Square Mile, prizes from Coffee Hit and cash donations from London Coffee Festival and Estate Dairy, making the total cash prize pool £1000 to be split between the top 3.
Judges invited along for the evening include:
Glenn Watson - Lead judge four years in a row and superstar photographer
James Hoffman - Director of Square Mile and author of The World Coffee Atlas
Maxwell Colonna - Dashwood - Director of Colonna and Smalls Coffee, UK Barista Champion 2012, 2014, 2015 and author of Water for Coffee
Dhan Tamang - UK Latte Art Champion 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 - Currently 4th in the world
Dan Fellows - Origin Coffee - Current UK Barista Champion and curernetly 9th in the world
Andrew Tolley - Director Taylor Street Baristas, World Barista Judge, World Sensory Judge and runner up in the 2016 World Tea Brewing Championships
Phil 'Bassplayer' Wain - Editor of London's Best Coffee
Catherine Seay - Director of Curators Coffee and original Kaffeine barista
Paul Radin - Director of Coffee Hit
Shaun Young - Director of Noble Espresso and The Estate Dairy
James Phillips - Director of Dose Espresso
James 'I won the first year' Bailey - Head of Quality at Workshop and World Coffee Masters Champion 2015
Ben Townsend - Former Director of The Espresso Room and trainer at London School of Coffee
We will have legend Ross 'Browns of Brockley' Brown as main MC and very special guest DJ Billy Tahtis on the decks with old school and new school tunes.
Once again, we have some great photos up online for your to see all the action so please check out these ones here and do share them across all your social media channels with #smackdown16.
Have a great week and if you are competing on Friday, please be sure to check in when you arrive.