Lattes and love: Showdown commemorates beloved barista

Baristas and coffee hobbyists from across the Waco area and beyond congregated to participate in the event. Molly Atchison | Editor in Chief

Molly Atchison | Editor-in-Chief

Coffee is a staple in the daily routine of many college students. Last night, the coffee community of Waco rallied together at Dichotomy Coffee Roasters, both students and Waco residents alike, to celebrate coffee and the life of barista Jay Markley, who died in a fatal car accident in May 2017. Markley would have been 25 yesterday, and the venue was packed with people to recognize his participation in the Waco coffee community and his love for coffee throwdown competitions.

A five dollar buy-in and plenty of open slots gave local latte artists the chance to compete in the monthly CenTex Latte Art Throwdown, as well as celebrate Markley’s memory. Dichotomy even created a signature cocktail to commemorate “Mark the Shark” — the Sharkbite.

“Today would have been my husband Jay Mark’s 25th birthday,” Markley’s wife Andrea said. “He was a barista here at Dichotomy, and if you ever met him you would know he was much more than that. He loved coffee and most of all he loved people.”

After touching words from Andrea Markley and a raising of glasses in Jay Markley’s honor, the competition got underway. From rosettes on cappuccinos to tulips on macchiatos, latte artists from all over Waco and beyond showed their stuff in rounds, with the winners advancing to the final rounds. Ultimately, it was Kyler Griffith, affiliated with Native Sons Coffee Roasters, who proved his latte art dominance and walked away with the cash prize.

CenTex Latte Art Throwdowns have been hosted for several years, and is an event open to the public and to the surrounding Waco area. Dichotomy has been the venue for multiple CenTex Latte Art Throwdowns before, but the crowd had not been as large as the one last night in a long time. People came from out of town to see their friends compete and to take part in the festivities.

“I came here tonight because some of my coworkers invited me out to watch the latte competition,” Kayla Bock, a Temple resident said. “I actually just moved to the area, so I don’t really know my way around, but I wanted to see what it was all about.”

With representatives from Common Grounds, BRU, Dichotomy, Native Sons and independent participants in the latte art community, the attendees were engaging and competitive. The coffee community is vibrant in Waco, and these competitions seem to be an opportunity for people to visit and spend time with each other, surrounded by the rich smell of coffee brewing.

For those interested in participating in or simply enjoying the CenTex latte art showdown, check the Downtown Waco calendar for updates on the time, date and location of the next competition.