On a grey Wednesday in late March, on an evening when snow and freezing rain were predicted, a new kind of event for Ottawa was planned for Art-Is-In bakery in the City Centre building off Scott Street.
“We didn’t know if anyone would come,” said Stephanie Mathieson, co-owner of the bakery and café. “We didn’t advertise the Latte Art Throwdown much — it was mostly word of mouth. There was no pre-registration.”
Soon after the doors opened at 6 p.m., the place turned into part mosh pit, part coffee love-in, as spectators crowded around to the beat of live bands to see which baristas could create the best patterns in the steamed milk floating in cups of coffee.
“The place was packed — you couldn’t move,” says Mathieson. “We maxed out on the number of baristas who could compete, with 32. The turnout was amazing — over 300 people