What’s a latte without Instagram-worthy latte art? Although it's a niche skill that often goes overlooked after we snap a picture and post it on our stories, latte art is a world of its own.

In honor of Halloween, Reprise Coffee Roasters, located in Evanston's Main-Dempster Mile, hosted a "Spooky Latte Throwdown." The event featured a latte art design competition, giving local baristas the opportunity to battle it out over steamed milk and espresso. Both spectators and competitors came dressed in costume, and enjoyed warm drinks and pastries while they observed the coffee artists' designs.

Lucy Jung

The competition was organized in brackets. Latte artists poured their designs on the spot in a head-to-head competition with their opponents. The winner—the barista who received the most votes from the three judges—then advanced to the next round.

The Spooky Latte Throwdown had prizes, too. Prizes were sponsored by Oatly and Brewpass. First and second place winners each won a $100 gift card, and the third place contestant was awarded a $50 gift card. 

Lucy Jung

If you’re not looking for a latte-pouring contest, they can be difficult to find. Within the industry, however, they are not uncommon, said Adam Paronto, owner of Reprise. In fact, Reprise uses latte-pouring competitions as a way to bring in new customers and build the coffee community. Now with social media, latte artists within the Chicagoland area can easily flock to competitions and show off their skills. 

This year's Spooky Latte Throwdown winner was Jay, a self-proclaimed “coffee dork.” He owns 14 coffee makers, and drinks around five to seven lattes a day. His latte pouring skills are the result of studying coffee for 36 years. From a young age, coffee has been a part of his life. It all started when he saw his mother make her iced coffee with vanilla ice cream. The creamy and delicious milkshake-coffee combo was a treat, and thus began a life-long love for the caffeinated drink.

“I challenge any kid to not be hooked after that,” said Jay. 

Rinn, coming from Newport Coffee House where she works as a barista, participated in the competition. Six years ago, after coming across a latte art video on Youtube, Rinn became dedicated to the art and has since mastered it. She said her favorite part of the evening was the community, and seeing all of the coffee-lovers together. 

Lucy Jung

The world of latte art is more than what we see on Instagram. An entire community of baristas seek out events like these, where they can showcase their unique, creative passion. Celebrating with the coffee community is an added bonus of such events, and allows those who pour lattes and those who drink them to connect.