Steamboat baristas battle in first-ever coffee shop throwdown

Dusky Grouse Coffee's owner Stephany Traylor is the mastermind behind the Coffee Shop Showdown that will pit local baristas against one another in a latte art competition on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

This weekend, Steamboat Springs coffee shops will face off with foam.

Dusky Grouse is hosting the first-ever Coffee Shop Showdown that will pit area baristas against each other in a latte art competition at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3. 

Stephany Traylor, owner of Dusky Grouse, is the mastermind behind the event, wanting to replicate contests she’s seen in larger metro areas.

“It’s a pretty well known thing in bigger cities. I’ve never been to one, I don’t know much about them, but there’s been a pretty big influx in coffee shops in Steamboat and we just don’t all talk or communicate so I thought this would be a great way to get us all together,” Traylor said. “We all do different things and we all fill different niches in the community and we all do an amazing job, too. I thought it would be fun to bring us all together under one roof and raise some money for Yampa Valley Gives Day.”

All proceeds from the event will benefit the winner’s nonprofit of choice on Tuesday, Dec. 6. The winner will also get a “sick trophy,” according to event information.

Coffee shops can enter with multiple baristas for $20 and individual competitors can pay $10 to enter. There is also a $5 suggested donation for those wanting to watch the competition, which will include some light food and beverages. 

The throwdown will be in a bracket style that pits two baristas against each other. Traylor has never hosted a barista battle before, so she hopes the format goes well. 

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“We’re going to have some cards that we’re going to draw … to see what kind of latte art they have to try to do, whether it’s a heart, rosetta, swan, something fancy, just super fun.”

She thinks the event will be a great combination of casual and competitive as all the coffee shops in town have some amazing art on their lattes. 

There are three judges who will decide winners in each showdown. While there can only be one winner, Traylor said the true purpose is to bring the community together. 

“Coffee is fun at its root so I think it’ll be a cool atmosphere to get people together,” she said.

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