Barista Magazine

APR-MAY 2019

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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Page 84 of 119

85 needn't be that way. If you'd like your throwdown to be more sustain- able, consider handing out the fi nished lattes to customers. Everyone likes free coffee, right? (Of course, if you go this route, you'll need to make sure baristas are following best practices with regard to sanita- tion for their cups, their hands, and your machine. Any barista worth their salt should be doing this in the fi rst place!) At My Old Kentucky Throwdown, we accept donations for competitors' drinks, which just sweetens the pot for our charity of choice. ORGANIZE + EXECUTE Once your event starts, you'll want to enjoy it—but in order to do that, you'll need to have planned ahead. A day or two prior, write down everything you could possibly need, then make sure you have it. Sketch out your competition area, and have a plan for who goes where and when. Walk through your space and imagine it all; write down questions you don't have answers to, and potential problem areas, then plan for those issues while you still have time. For the competition itself, set up a free account at (yes, spelled with an "o") for foolproof bracketing, and assign a volunteer to fi ll it in and keep it updated throughout the event. You'll likely want to "randomize" the bracket, which you can do once you've entered all your competitors, but I'd also suggest giving the randomized bracket a quick glance: There's a good chance two baristas from the same shop will be paired against each other in the fi rst round, and this always leads to frus- tration. Have an unbiased third party help you swap out the occasional coworker match, if possible. Once you've activated your bracket, share the web address with your audience, and they can follow along through- out the evening. Gather your volunteers early and give them clear assignments, and encourage them to snap pictures or video throughout the evening, so you can show off your success in the days and weeks to come. Create a hashtag and publicize it around the space so that your attendees tag their Instagram posts and tweets, thus giving your throwdown (and your business) even wider exposure. Make sure your judges have a decent place to sit, access to beverages, and a bathroom break some- where in the schedule. Get some "Hello, My Name Is" labels to help dial back any awkwardness, and take a walk around the block before everything gets rolling! With any luck, your throwdown will be a smashing success—for baris- tas, for your company, and for your community.

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