Every year, our worldlings gather for an in-house, bracket-style competition to see who can pour the best cappuccino. We call it the ‘Cap-Off’, and at our staff meeting this Tuesday night, it’ll be time for this annual showdown. It’s an event that is widely talked up by the crew, as the winner earns bragging rights for an entire year… and everyone else has an entire year to hype themselves up to be this year’s biggest threat!
Though the event is closed to the public, we thought we’d share an inside glimpse into the Cap-Off Rules & Regulations, as well as some photos from previous years. Be sure to check back this week once we’ve announced the winner of the 2012 Cap-Off!
The Small World Coffee Cap-Off
Every barista who has at least passed their ‘C1′ test is eligible to compete. Each submitted cappuccino will be judged FIRST on its taste, SECOND on its composition, and THIRD for its aesthetics. The goal is that everyone on staff will gain a greater appreciation for barista techniques while also pushing the envelope in terms of coffee as a culinary art.
Procedure for competitors:
Tuc will be the keeper of the grind. If you think the grind needs to be changed, it has to be changed at the beginning of your turn.
You must make a traditional cappuccino.
You have 2 minutes in each round.
You may steam only 1 pitcher of milk per round.
In Round One you may run up to 2 sets of shots, pour up to two caps, and serve your best.
In Round Two you may run only 1 set of shots, pour up to two caps, and serve your best.
In the Final Round, you may run only 1 set of shots and pour one cappuccino.
Each cappuccino can earn up to 10 points, from the following categories:
TASTE (0-6 points): Espresso should not taste bitter (underextracted) or burnt (overextracted). Milk should be smooth and glossy, with minimal or no bubbles. Espresso and milk foam should be integrated properly (not in separate layers). Your drink must be served at an appropriate temperature.
APPEARANCE/COMPOSITION (0-3 points): Ideally espresso, milk and foam are mixed together to create a tapestry of browns and whites. (All white = bad in this category, as it’s not mixed at all). Can be either abstract (amorphous) or realistic (apples, hearts, leaves, etc.). Realize that symmetry, layers or highlighting lines is difficult, as that often means there is a low foam level in the drink. Creativity can earn you points in this category.
PRESENTATION (0-1 point): Ideally served in a warmed, thick-walled ceramic cup, with no spillage, and filled to the brim.
The highest scoring caps will advance to the finals.