|Both Smith and Soeder opted for the tulip design.|
I wasn't there for the climactic moment, when apparent latte art genius Cabell Tice (even his name sounds artisanal!) of The Thinking Cup in Boston nabbed the title, reprising his win last year in Seattle. But I was there for a poignant moment on the second day of competition when the pool of 32 was whittled down to 16. It came when Ryan Soeder of Intelligentsia Chicago went head-to-head against and edged out competitor Kenny Smith of Sunergos in Louisville, Kentucky.
By finishing first in the three-minute competition Soeder immediately had the edge in scoring. The judges also gave the advantage to him in two other scoring categories: color definition (how white is the white and how brown is the brown) and infusion (swirliness). Yet at least one judge felt Smith got the better marks in beauty and balance.
|Smith, left, with former mentee Soeder.|
It happens in every pursuit, that moment when student surpasses master, and Smith was gracious in defeat. I hope that he was able to feel a sense of pride in having nurtured a talent that, at least on that day, outshone him. For every win, there is a defeat, though; Soeder got knocked out in the next round by Tokyo's Tsusaka Koike.