Coffee Fest Revamps Latte Art Competition

Feb 05

Holly Barrett

Coffee Fest Revamps Latte Art Competition

By: Holly Barrett

Coffee Fest Revamps Latte Art Competition

Starting in Baltimore 2018, Coffee Fest has introduced several enhancements to the Latte Art World Championship Open (LAWCO), including new judges, an improved seeding process and increased prize money among the changes. These improvements are intended to help enhance the competition and make it accessible to rising latte art competitors.

“Coffee Fest prides itself on serving the coffee community.  We asked the industry professionals and they told us where we could improve. With Joshua Boyt continuing to entertain the crowd as emcee and Chris Deferio leading the judge panel, streamlined calibration and evolved seeding we are confident that participants will see exciting improvements at our 2018 Latte Art venues,” said Erika Lowery, Coffee Fest Show Director.

Topping the list of changes, the judges’ panel will now consist of three judges – two of whom will be regular judges appearing in all three Coffee Fest host cities in 2018 – Baltimore, Denver and LA. A third guest judge representing the local coffee community will rotate at each show.

Returning to Coffee Fest, Chris Deferio from The Keys to the Shop podcast and past champion will serve as head judge for all three 2018 Coffee Fest Latte Art competitions. Deferio brings over 18 years of specialty coffee experience having served in many roles - from award winning barista work, bar training, and competition -  to management, business development, and consultation.

Also joining as a three-show judge is Terika Raak from La Marzocco. Raak brings more than 10 years of coffee industry experience, has placed in LAWCO and has served as a judge for several other barista competitions.

The third and final judge will serve as the local judge at Coffee Fest Baltimore as part of a rotating judge seat. Michael Harwood, Director of Coffee at Ceremony Coffee Roasters in Maryland will round out the judges’ panel. With more than 14 years in the specialty coffee industry, Harwood enjoys the “theatre of competition.”

Sponsors for the event include Nuova Simonelli, Pacific Barista Series, Eight Ounce Coffee Supply, Dillanos Coffee Roasters, and Mahlkonig.

Among other notable changes, the prize amounts have increased in 2018 with first place earning $2,500, second place earning $1,500 and third place earning $1,000. Winners will also receive a custom designed trophy and certificate. Competitors who advance will be announced on Coffee Fest’s social media channels and on the Coffee Fest website daily during the event.

“In an effort to reduce no-show competitors on-site, a $30 competition entry fee will now be a part of the application process.  This is purely a way to ask competitors to have skin in the game and something we found common in other latte art competitions and throw downs. The entry fee is directly rolled back into the prize money and awarded to the first, second and third place winners,” said Renee Wulf, Coffee Fest Conference Manager.

The LAWCO runs Friday – Sunday mornings, March 16-18, 2018 in Baltimore, June 8-10, 2018 in Denver and August 19-21 in Los Angeles.

About Coffee Fest: Coffee Fest is a trade-only event serving the specialty coffee and gourmet tea industries since 1992. Coffee Fest draws more than 10,000 attendees and competitors a year, connecting regional coffee communities through regional tradeshow events. For more details about Coffee Fest, to see the winners of Coffee Fest competitions and much more, visit


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