Well, wow

Last night's Rosettas for Relief latte-art throwdown was staggeringly awesome, all thanks to you guys! ("You guys" here standing for "the coffee community at large" and anyone else who was with us in body or spirit, raising money for a good cause.)

In the course of raising more than $700 for the Red Cross (!!) we ran out of beer three times (thanks for getting us more, whoever made the last three runs!), though we had five cases of Sierra Nevada generously donated by Union Beer Distributors. There were also tons of great donated raffle prizes—including a coffee-themed apron specially designed and shipped overnight from Minneapolis just for the occasion (thank you so much, Michaelene!), a year's subscription to Bust magazine, a bunch of great demitasse cups from our pals at Café Grumpy and several pounds of coffee from Daterra Farms, lovingly roasted by Barrington Coffee—one of which my husband won, so I'm enjoying a cup of it right now!

Rosettas for Relief

The room was packed to the gills (some folks had to climb upstairs and poke their heads through the office windows), with baristas, coffee drinkers, foodies, photographers and passersby all fighting for a good look. The top of every chair saw the bottom of a pair of shoes at some point—even my poor mother had to stand on one in the back of the room! You'd think I could have arranged VIP seating for my own mom, right?

Rosettas for Relief

Joe's owner, Jonathan Rubinstein, had the genius forethought to arrange us a videographer and a projector (thanks guys!) so everybody could see the lattes as they were poured (and the beers as they were consumed, and the dozens of little camera shutters snap-snapping all over the place). Our crack team of judges (playwright Brian Bartels, Serious Eats' Alaina Broome and Counter Culture Coffee's Katie Carguilo) kept things fair and balanced, tallying each drink furiously on four parameters: symmetry, contrast, detail and style. And the competition was tough, I'll tell you.

Rosettas for Relief
You can see the judges and the projection in this photo! Two birds, one stone.

MC Adam Roberts (a.k.a. the Amateur Gourmet) did a fabulous job keeping things going and inserting lively, punchy banter when needed, taking "Man in the Café" interviews from people looking on and chatting with baristas before and after their pours.

Rosettas for Relief

About 20 baristas stepped up to the plate, including Ryan, Tal and Emily from Ninth Street Espresso; Wally from Kobricks Coffee in Jersey City; Julio from City Girl Café; Amber from Intelligentsia; Alie from Gimme!; Anne of Temp Tamp; Rickie, Brian, William, Jane, Angela, Dave and Nate from Joe; and a bunch more!

And the winning pour was courtesy of El Beit's Danger Dan, who must be pretty used to killing it at these things by now.

Rosettas for Relief

Dan took home a $300 gift certificate to Eleven Madison Park, generously donated by the Union Square Hospitality Group (thanks, Danny Meyer!). So, Dan, if you can figure out a way to split that among the 90 of us who were there last night… And don't be so modest!

Rosettas for Relief

Thanks again to absolutely every who came, saw and conquered last night, and for such generosity toward an amazing cause. The money is still coming in a little bit in drips and drabs (we can accept donations until the 10th—email meister@biynyc.com with questions about giving!), and I will give a final tally when it's all collected and accounted for.

Viva barista!

Edited to add: Check out what Gothamist has to say about the whole thing!