Remember when you just had to be good at latte art to win a throwdown? Those salad days are becoming fewer and far(rer?) between, as many events are broadening the horizons of local skill- and fun-based barista competitions. One such event is Creatures of Habit, taking place Saturday, September 22nd at Spark Social SF in San Francisco. Hosting not one, not two, but three different competitions all under one roof, Creatures of Habit features some serious prizes, with proceeds going to a good cause.

Hosted by SPRO Coffee Lab, the resident coffee bar at Spark Social SF—a food truck park and outdoor event space—Creatures of Habit will include a sprodown, signature coffee cocktail contest, and of course, a latte art throwdown. Each event is discrete, meaning three different winners and three different prizes. The winner of latte art throwdown—who much pour exclusively into a four-ounce cup for added difficulty—will take home $200 plus “barista swag,” and the prizes only go up from there. The signature coffee cocktail competition, which requires competitors to use a list of provided secret ingredients (all of them) to craft a tasty beverage, nets the winner $300 plus barista swag. The top prize, though, is for the winner of the sprodown. Whoever crafts the best espresso using a mystery coffee will earn $400. And, you guessed it, barista swag.

And who decides what is best? For that SPRO has enlisted the help of USBC and WBC judge, Blue Bottle’s Mallory Roth as well as Blue Bottle green buyer Charlie Habegger. They may or may not be receiving further assistance 2012 US Barista Champion and Counter Culture coffee buyer, the inimitable Katie Carguilo.

It’s going to take a bit of luck to even get to compete, though; there’s already a competitor waitlist for Creatures of Habit (which you can sign up for by emailing SPRO Coffee Lab with the subject “Creatures of Habit.” Make sure to include the “throwdown type(s) you would like to participate in should a slot(s) open up”). But don’t let that stop you from attending. Getting to hang out with other local coffee professionals should be enough to make you want to make an appearance (it really should), but if it isn’t, go because $1,000 of the proceeds are being donated to the SPCA; the dog-friendly Spark Social SF loves dogs, in case you were wondering.

Spectator tickets for Creatures of Habit are $12 and can be purchased here. The first 200 persons to arrive receive a coffee swag bag and every attendee is automatically entered into a drawing for the multiple giveaways planned. It all gets started at 11:00am on Saturday, September 22nd. For more information, visit the Creatures of Habit Eventbrite page.

Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.

Top image via Creatures of Habit.

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