The Michael Phillips Handsome Tour: Austin
MP has moved on to the East Coast, appearing at Espresso NEAT in Darien, Connecticut and at RBC-NYC in Manhattan in coming days. Here’s his recap of a memorable night in Austin with our pals at Frank Hot Dogs & Cold Beer. More to come… — HCR
AUSTIN, Texas — There are several things Austin does well. It has a great sense of courtesy and knows how to treat guests. Some of the best hospitality in the world. It has simply mastered the art of the food truck… coming a Los Angeleno, those are big words. If you were to ask @tylerjwells you would hear that Austin is home to the nations finest Whole Foods for reasons only he can explain… Now add to the list: Austin is the origin of a new kind of coffee competition and an indisputable home of serious coffee professionals.
A few days back, Austin witnessed the “Wildcard Throw Down” at Frank, a killer local establishments purveying hot dogs, cold beer and great coffee. The rules for the “Wildcard” were simple: put in your money and draw a card. The card you pick held your fate. Spades meant 10 oz latte cup, hearts got you a cap cup, diamonds put down a Gibraltar and those unlucky clubs got you a diner mug. The numbers 2 to 5 required you pour a tulip with the number being the layers you had to dish. The numbers 6 to 10 called for a classy rosetta. And Jack through King meant you needed to pour a clean heart. And just for fun, if you pull an ace and you could have what ever fun you wanted as long as it was in a demitasse, but draw a joker and you would be pouring blind (folded that is).
Despite my constant pressing for heckling the crowd cheered through the night. A hefty turnout of some 18 or so baristas duked it out through 5 rounds of head to head bracket action. The judging was clean and the pouring was spot on. With showings from Waco and San Antonio, the field was pretty diverse as well. Ultimately a good man named Steve O from Cafe Medici took the prize. I offer a hearty congrats to all in Austin, you represented well. Off to the East Coast!