5 Ways to Win the Crush the Rush Competition (and more)

A quick recap of what we’ve done, what’s to come, and some helpful tips & tricks from past winners!

It’s hard to believe we’re already 4 cities into our first-ever Crush the Rush tour! Competition has been even more fierce and fun than we could have possibly imagined. From the first event in our Seattle HQ, all the way down the coast through Portland and San Francisco, to the hot, hot heat of Los Angeles, Crush the Rush has been an absolute blast, and we can’t thank everyone enough for making it happen!

A special thanks to our hosts and sponsors along the way—Oatly, Sprudge, Fellow, Black Rabbit, Counter Culture Coffee, Equator, Barista Magazine, Go Get ‘Em Tiger, St. Frank, and Linea Caffe.

Throughout the tour, we’ve seen quite a few different strategies by winning teams, and we’ve seen times decrease each and every event. Since there are still six stops left, we thought we’d share some tips and tricks straight from the winners themselves!

5 Ways to Win Crush the Rush

Seattle—Terika Raak

Team “Who Signed Us Up for This?” (La Marzocco Cafe, Vashon Coffee, Java Bean)

“Trust the equipment! Weigh your shots during prep time, then forego the scale and trust the equipment to do what it’s supposed to do.”


Portland—Cheryl Flinn

Team “Coffee Claws” (Either/OR)

“Milk sharing! Something I learned at Go Get ‘Em Tiger. As soon as the clock starts, have someone steam enough for a latte and pour off into another pitcher. Also, have two people pour, At first, we were thinking just one person steaming & pouring, and I’d just run. But once we got a feel for it, it was way more efficient for us both to be pouring drinks. Just like when it’s busy in the cafe—over communication! Also, pulling shots into shot glasses and not directly into the drinking vessel. We made the mistake of doing that first round and every cup needed a wipe down. Also, having Ignition by R. Kelly on in the background really helped us.”

Alex Arocha

Team “Pour Sports” (Either/OR)

“Winning Crush the Rush is as simple as making an espresso flight on the back of a wild mustang flying through space. All you need to do is hold on a keep the shots rolling.”


San Francisco—Karley Webb

Team “Send It” (Soul Work Coffee)

“Pulling shots for drinks in different order really helped us. I tried to organize it so that we could make two milk drinks before the espresso was pulled…then I could run the drinks, grab the espresso, and the drinks behind that were already poured, so I just had to run them. I think the order in which you pull the shots really makes a huge difference.”


Los Angeles—Blair Smith

Team “KatDaug” (Augie’s)

“Keep calm and just be efficient. It’s not worth it to make a mistake and have to re-do a drink because you tried to do something at lightning speed. Always have more shots pulled than you need. Steam Milk and hand off for the runner to pour while you start on the next drink.”

How To Program Mass Mode on a La Marzocco with Scales

In addition to heeding the above advice, we’ve put together this handy video that explains everything you need to know about programming Mass Mode on your machine. This video is not only useful for Crush the Rush (using the feature is required!), but also for taking full advantage of the machine in your Cafe. If you’ve never programmed your machine to use Mass Mode, this video is a fantastic resource for learning how to do it quickly and easily.

Chris Baca x Crush the Rush

Last week was one of the hottest weeks in Los Angeles of the year, but loads of you still came out to compete and cheer on some of LA’s finest baristas like it was the Dodgers in Game 7 of the World Series. Chris Baca was on hand and captured a fantastic video of the evening. Chris’ video does a great job of showing what you can expect at the upcoming Crush the Rush Events in Houston, Atlanta, Washington D.C., Chicago, Kansas City, and Denver.


Remaining Stops on the Tour

We still have 6 stops remaining on the Crush the Rush Tour. Check out the list below to see when we’re headed your way!

Team Registration will open one week prior to the event at 6pm local time (in whichever city you’re trying to register for). Be sure to visit the Facebook Event Pages below to grab the Eventbrite Link if you’re interested in competing. Have it handy, too! We’ve been seeing Team Registration sell out within minutes of launch.

Not competing? We’d love to see you! Crush the Rush is free and open to the public—just be sure to hop over to the Facebook Event Page and click “Going” to let us know you’re coming. We’ll have food, drinks, prizes, and fun for everyone in attendance.


Remaining Stops

July 17 in Houston (Registration Closed)

July 24 in Atlanta (Registration Opens 7/17 @ 6 pm EDT)

July 30 in Washington D.C. (Registration Opens 7/23 @ 6 pm EDT)

August 7 in Chicago (Registration Opens 7/31 @ 6 pm CDT)

August 10 in Kansas City (Registration Opens 8/3 @ 6 pm CDT)

August 14 in Denver (Registration Opens 8/7 @ 6 pm MDT)

Link to Register & RSVP

Crush the Rush Event Pages (RSVP to Attend): https://www.facebook.com/pg/LaMarzoccoUSA/events/

Team Registration Pages on Eventbrite (Tickets to Compete): https://www.eventbrite.com/o/la-marzocco-17136404988

Questions? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Email: info.usa@lamarzocco.com

La Marzocco Cafe News: Thank you Sweet Bloom and Welcome La Colombe Coffee Roasters

Our team at the La Marzocco Cafe has thoroughly enjoyed preparing and serving coffee from Sweet Bloom Coffee Roasters over the past four weeks. It’s been a joy working with their team, a group of good people passionate about what they do. Many kudos to Sweet Bloom Founder, Andy Sprenger, for creating a team who cares deeply about their craft, their colleagues, and all who work along the coffee chain. We want to thank everyone at Sweet Bloom who helped to make their residence at our Cafe a reality, with special thanks going to Miguel Vicuña for his work planning, creating, training our staff and being present to host events and classes.

If you haven’t been in yet to try Sweet Bloom, there’s just one week left! As a later addition to their menu, we recommend trying the newly released Petronilo Martinez – a washed coffee from Guatemala with aromatics of chocolate and notes of pralines and apple crisp. It was highlighted during our most recent Meet the Producer event with Edwin Martinez of Onyx Coffee and his father, Edwin Sr. We’ll be serving this coffee and the rest of Sweet Bloom’s menu through Monday, July 16.

Next up, starting on Tuesday, July 17, our menu and service style will be presented by La Colombe Coffee Roasters based in Philadelphia!

La Colombe is a leading coffee roaster known for ethical, long-term trade practices with growers. Considered one of the pioneers of the third wave of coffee, it provides signature classic blends and exceptional single-origin coffees to cafes, hotels, restaurants and retailers around the world. In addition, the company owns and operates 30 cafes in Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. The company has  made headlines in the ready-to-drink business with its DRAFT LATTE(™) – the world’s first-ever textured cold latte.

La Colombe’s story began in Seattle back in 1996, where two guys with a shared passion for coffee met at a bar. Founders Todd Carmichael and JP Iberti went on to create La Colombe on a simple but profound premise: America Deserves Better Coffee. By sourcing and roasting with care, and borrowing on ancient and modern coffee traditions from around the world, the two have built a successful company that strives to create an elevated coffee experience in cafes and homes across the country. They are thrilled to be returning to the city that showed them the magic of coffee and will be bringing the best of their voyages and innovations from the past 20 years with them!

“This residency is our opportunity to give the city and coffee community a taste of what it gave us. It’s a real honor and privilege.” – La Colombe.

We’re thrilled to be able to host La Colombe and can’t wait to share their menu and service style with our guests. Read on for some menu highlights.

Menu Highlights

Stay and sip or grab and go! La Colombe’s menu will include most of their ready-to-drink beverages including the Pure Black – a cold-pressed bottled coffee, and a selection of their cans of Draft Latte – a texturized iced latte with cold-pressed espresso, complete with a frothy layer of silky foam. Choose from the Original, Triple, Mocha, Vanilla and Caramel.

The Pure Black and Draft Latte will also be available on tap, alongside the new and perfect-for-summer Cold Brew Shandy Lemonade – cold brew coffee + lemonade, on tap!

For espresso and espresso based drinks, guests will have the choice of enjoying La Colombe’s Cornerstone Nizza – a medium roast blend which happens to be the coffee used for espresso in all La Colombe cafes, or their single origin Burundi Kayanza – a naturally-processed coffee from the Great Lakes region of East Africa which boasts vibrant sweetness and intense fruit-forward acidity.

For pour over, pull up to our back bar and chat with our baristas as they hand brew one of La Colombe’s delightful Colombian Geisha coffees – El Vergel or Monte Verde.

Because summer and coffee, La Colombe has created two cascara ice cream treats! Go big with the Cascara Ice Cream Float – made with layers of black cherry soda, cascara ice cream and Draft Latte or the Affogato with a scoop of cascara ice cream topped with espresso.

Launch Party

On Wednesday, July 18 from 7 – 10 PM, come meet and mingle with the La Colombe crew as they bring a taste of Philadelphia to Seattle through Philly-based music, food and drinks!

Live music will be performed by ill Fated Natives – a power trio whose grit and raw passion creates a blend of bluesy, vibrant “earth music.”

This event is free but you must RSVP to attend – to receive an invite to RSVP, you must be signed up for our Locals Newsletter. Invites go out Tuesday, July 10. Head here to sign up.

We’ll be serving Sweet Bloom Coffee through Monday, July 16, then La Colombe Coffee from Tuesday, July 17 through Monday, August 20.