We may not be as well know as Seattle, but Milwaukee definitely knows a thing or two when it comes to coffee, or at least has enough coffee snobs living in it to support all our local roasters and cafes. I've been working in the coffee industry for almost six years now, and personally, I feel like I have just scratched the surface of this crazy micro-culture. However, there is one time-honored tradition that I have had the pleasure of taking part in, and that is the art of the barista "throwdown."
For anyone who is unaware, a throwdown is a friendly competition where two baristas battle it out for the most impressive latte art. The two designs are poured and presented to the judges who vote for the best cup, typically defined by visual aesthetics, degree of difficulty, color infusion, and definition. The competition is whittled down to the final two (March Madness style), leaving the winner who gets the pot, i.e. the $5 entry fee charged for each competing barista.
Needless to say, the night was a roaring success with laughter abound and PBR cans littering the counters and the La Marzocco, in true Milwaukee style. Suck on that Seattle.