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

Introducing Crush the Rush!

An all-new barista competition focused on speed and fun. Coming to a city near you. 

Introducing Crush the Rush! An all-new, team-based barista competition from La Marzocco that is all about fun, speed, efficiency, and community. Eight teams (with three baristas per team) will compete in a head-to-head style tournament, racing to deliver 8 perfectly-made drinks to the judges’ table faster than their opponent. The fastest team from each heat will move on to the next round. Each round, a new surprise will await the competitors to increase the difficulty. At the end of the night, one team will be awarded the *incredibly* legendary Crush the Rush trophy + $300.

About Crush the Rush

Crush the Rush focuses on bar flow efficiency, technology, and fun! Teams will need to optimize their workflow, roles, and responsibilities in order to improve their speed. Each team will be competing on a La Marzocco Strada AV with Scales that will need to be programmed in order to maximize efficiency and accuracy.

We’ll be bringing Crush the Rush to 9 U.S. cities this Summer. See the list below to see if we will be visiting your city!

Crush the Rush Cities

Portland—June 26
San Francisco—July 2
Los Angeles—July 6
Houston—July 17
Atlanta—July 24
Washington D.C.—July 30
Chicago—August 7
Kansas City—August 10
Denver—August 14

Attendance and Registration

Registration for each city will open one week prior to the event, at 6:00 pm local time.

Register your team on the corresponding Eventbrite page! You’ll need a team name, three baristas and $30. Teams must name all baristas and the company they work for. After 8 teams have signed up there will be a waitlist for alternates that will be chosen at random if one of the eight teams can’t make it.

Register to Compete: +La Marzocco Eventbrite Page

**HEAD’S UP! Team registration has been filling up within seconds. Registration for each city will open 1 week prior to the event at 6:00 pm local time, and the first 8 teams will get in.**

Free & Open to the Public:
Don’t want to compete? This event is free to attend, but please RSVP by clicking “Going” on our Facebook Event page to let us know you’ll be joining us! Come hang out, eat food, and drink drinks with us from 7 pm on.

Official Rules of Crush the Rush

Download a PDF of the Official Crush the Rush Rules & Regulations: https://goo.gl/d94gqF

Interested in Sponsorship?

Check out our sponsorship opportunities!

Interested in Judging or Helping Out?

We’re taking Volunteers to help us at each event! Be a sensory judge, technical judge, help set up & tear down, porter, etc. If you’re interested in helping out, we’d love your help.

Sign up here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfsLkT8jP3LbKnphXmpr0zwEtuM7ke3fVE9611cNNne6WPc6g/viewform 


Questions? Don’t hesitate to reach out to Josh Littlefield: josh@lamarzocco.com

The True Artisan Cafe once again returns to SCAA Expo

We’re very excited for our special line up of roasters for Expo in Atlanta, GA. The event kicks off Friday, April 15. The True Artisan Cafe exists for a very simple purpose: to bring our partners together to celebrate La Marzocco espresso equipment and to share amazing coffees with all who attend the trade show.

2016 is bound to be a banner year for the True Artisan Cafe. We’ve made some adjustments to the programming, and thus we will have 52 roasting companies sharing their coffee through the course of the show.

In years past, the coffee bars have featured only espresso. However, taking note from the great experience we had back in the fall during the New York Coffee Festival, we’re introducing a wider range of beverages in our booth. Each of our roasting partners will be presenting a menu of drinks they have chosen. This will include milk beverages, with milk provided by Alabama’s Best Organic Dairy.

We’ve also challenged our roasting partners to develop tasty, but simple signature beverages. The trade show hours have increased for 2016, making this a marathon, not a sprint. We love espresso, but sometimes you need something else. This year, the True Artisan Cafe will have you covered.

As part of a special feature for 2016, we are introducing the New Roasters Showcase. From 12:30 to 1:30 PM on Friday and Saturday, we will be doubling up our bars to give you a chance to taste coffee from some of the newest and most exciting roasting operations in the United States. Each pairing of roasters will share an espresso machine and work together to give you an exciting and unique experience that you won’t find anywhere else.

La Marzocco is booth number 1221 in Atlanta. We hope you can join us for this epic celebration of great espresso and wonderful people.


Blog Schedule

See you in Milan: Out of the Box 2015

OOTB header

Out of the Box is the biennial La Marzocco event held in Milan that is intended to celebrate the specialty coffee community, and to bring people together to discuss emerging ideas in coffee. La Marzocco hosts Out of the Box October 23rd-24th. The event is open to all (registration is requested), and includes a lineup of speakers presenting on a range of topics. Speakers at Out of the Box 2015 will cover topics that include emerging trends in coffee, developing company culture, leadership, and design innovation. Exhibits will showcase La Marzocco products, projects including the Tanzania coffee farm Songwa, artists’ work including an exhibit by renowned photographer Jakob de Boer, interactive displays, workshops, and much more. The event also includes plenty of fun and entertainment, concluding with a party on Saturday October 24th.

Out of the Box 2015 takes place October 23rd-24th at Magna Pars Suites Milano. We hope you will join us!

Out of the Box takes place to coincide with HOST, the world’s largest hospitality tradeshow, also taking place in Milan. 2015 is also a special year because Milan is also host to the World’s Fair, Expo, the six month exhibition that draws visitors from around the world, and takes place in a different city around the world once every four years. While visiting Milan, Out of the Box attendees can also experience Expo in its final weeks.

Learn more about Out of the Box, and register to attend at http://ootb.lamarzocco.com.

Following Out of the Box, the La Marzocco factory welcomes visitors on Monday October 26th in Florence. Out of the Box attendees interested in being a part of the factory tour on October 26th, contact our US team at info.usa@lamarzocco.com.

We hope to see you in Milan!

New York Coffee Festival

In less than two weeks our team will be heading to New York City to participate in the inaugural New York Coffee Festival. September 25, 26, and 27 a collection of some of the finest coffee companies from around New York, the greater northeast region, and even from Europe will be assembling to celebrate all things specialty coffee at the 69th Regiment Armory.

The New York Coffee Festival is produced by Allegra Events, the same group that developed and launched the London Coffee Festival and the Amsterdam Coffee Festival. Both of these events have had great success in Europe and we’re very excited to welcome this style of event to the US. Friday September 25th is geared toward trade attendees, while the 26th and 27th are open to the general public. Expect a fun, festival atmosphere with food, music, and, of course, coffee.


La Marzocco will be offering two unique experiences for attendees to check out.


La Marzocco Home

Have you seen the Linea Mini yet? If not, come by the La Marzocco booth for your chance to experience a kitchen-sized version of our most iconic espresso machine, the Linea Classic. Home baristas and professionals alike will have the opportunity to jump on a Linea Mini and make espresso for themselves.

If you have never made an espresso before, fear not, as our team will be there to guide you through the experience.

We’ll have a small selection of coffee tools available for purchase. La Marzocco tampers, towels, and the new Acaia Lunar Scale will be available for purchase at the event. Quantities will be limited, so make sure to stop by early.


True Artisan Cafe

To crawl your way around all of New York and try coffees from every great roaster in the area would take days. Visit us at the True Artisan Café to experience a variety of the best that New York area coffee roasters have to offer. Each company will be serving drinks from their own, unique menu – designed just for the New York Coffee Festival. Espressos, cappuccinos, and some surprise signature beverages will be crafted by some of the most talented coffee professionals in New York.


Here is the True Artisan Café lineup:

Friday, September 25

2:00 PM – 4:30 PM

Brooklyn Roasting Company

Grade Coffee

Bluestone Lane


4:30 PM – 7:30 PM

Parlor Coffee

Third Rail Coffee



Saturday, September 26

9:00 AM – 12:30 PM

Stumptown Coffee Roasters

Tobys Estate Coffee

Counter Culture Coffee


12:30 PM – 4:00 PM

George Howell Coffee

Gotham Coffee Roasters

Sweetleaf LIC


4:00 PM – 7:30 PM

La Colombe


Blue Bottle Coffee


Sunday, September 27

9:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Gimme! Coffee

Ninth Street Espresso



1:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Irving Farm

Coffee Labs


We look forward to seeing you in New York!

Welcome to Seattle!

We look forward to welcoming the specialty coffee community to Seattle next week for the SCAA Expo and US Coffee Championships. Here is a sneak peek at what we have planned for the weekend – we hope you will join us!

Welcome Party

Welcome to Seattle! On Thursday April 24th, in partnership with 15 other Seattle-area coffee companies, we’re hosting a welcome bash from 8:00-12:00 at Von Trapp’s on Capitol Hill, just one mile from the convention center, following opening ceremonies for the show. Bring your SCAA badge for entrance. Stop by for food, drink, and bocce to celebrate your arrival in Seattle. More info on the event’s Facebook page.

Tradeshow Presence

Be sure to stop by our booth 3031 to see a host of roasters from around the US, as well as the newest additions to the La Marzocco USA product lineup: the La Marzocco Strada EE, the La Marzocco Vulcano Swift grinder, and the Mazzer Kold grinder. Look for details about the roasters who will be joining us for the “True Artisan Café” in a blog post next week. The tradeshow floor is open Friday and Saturday 11:00-5:30, and Sunday 11:00-4:00.

Skybridge Cafe

If you’re heading to the US Coffee Championships, be sure to visit the Skybridge Café, produced in partnership with Kalita USA, Marco, Baratza, Prima Coffee, and Global Customized Water. In addition to picking up a delicious coffee prepared by one of the roasting companies on bar, guests can receive one-on-one guidance to prepare their own espresso beverages on a fleet of customized La Marzocco GS/3 espresso machines. The Skybridge Café will be open Thursday-Saturday 8:00-5:00 and Sunday 8:00-4:00.

SCAA Lectures

Members of the La Marzocco USA team will be presenting a number of lectures at the show. Be sure to catch one or all of them:

  • Friday April 25th 9:00-10:15am, room 3A, CEO of La Marzocco International, Kent Bakke, will participate in a panel discussion on “The Evolution of Espresso Machines.”
  • Friday April 25th 10:30-11:45am, room 3A, Scott Callender, Senior Marketing Manager at La Marzocco USA will participate in a panel discussion titled “Capitalizing on Coffee at Home: Build Your Business by Supporting the Growing Interest in Specialty Coffee at Home.” Other panelists include Mark Hellweg of Clive Coffee, Nicholas Cho of Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters, and Colby Barr of Verve Coffee Roasters.
  • Saturday April 26th 9:00-10:15, room 3A, Whitney Cornell, Marketing Director at La Marzocco USA presents “When Sparks Fly! Connecting With Your Customer, From First Impression to Lasting Relationship.”

Finally, if you have a chance to get out and about in Seattle during your stay, do stop by La Marzocco USA headquarters in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. Our showroom and learning lab will be open for visitors Monday-Friday 9:00-5:00 (we will not be open on Saturday or Sunday, April 26th or 27th).

We look forward to seeing you, and to a great weekend celebrating our specialty coffee community.

SCAA IDP Training hosted by La Marzocco USA

La Marzocco USA is pleased to be hosting the SCAA’s Instructor Development Program training at our Seattle headquarters on September 23rd. If you’d like to attend the training, you can receive 20% off the registration fee by using the discount code IDPGUEST-20.

Register here.

Course description:

Specialty Coffee Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) can advance their training and education skills through workshops on adult learning principles in the workplace, instructional design, testing, evaluation and class management. Upon completion of the one-day program, students earn the SCAA Lead Instructor Credential and are eligible to volunteer as an Instructor for SCAA. Many students enthusiastically report an increase in quality and delivery of their training and instructional design in their own companies after completing the IDP. This course is particularly beneficial for the coffee expert who trains others, but has no formal coursework in training, adult education, or organizational learning.

This course is a pre-requisite for future advanced IDPs.

1. Recognizing education and training as an element of organizational success;

  • Orientation to the SCAA’s Professional Development department
  • Incorporating your company’s mission, vision and strategic goals into your training initiatives
  • Instructor and trainer competencies for the SCAA and at work

2. Applying adult learning principles;

  • Recognize four key adult learning principles;
  • Independence
  • Preparedness
  • Experience
  • Application
  • Grasp basics of adult learning theory and begin translating theory into practice;
  • Identify characteristics of adult learners and take them into consideration when conducting classes;
  • Recognize how adult learners process information, and strategize class design.

3. Setting clear, measurable skill and knowledge objectives;

4. Designing instruction using the ADDIE model of the American Society for Training and Development;

5. Exhibiting professional presentation skills;

6. Evaluating learner performance and leveraging learning back at work.

The course is taught by the SCAA Education Manager, Ildi Revi, M.Ad.Ed., CPT. Ildi has designed and conducted educator training for over 15 years for companies, educational institutions, government projects and NGO’s. She works with all the subject matter experts at SCAA to design, develop and deliver classes to SCAA members.

Upcoming Events with La Marzocco

As each of these unique events approaches, we will share more information, but for now, be sure to mark your calendars for these special upcoming events with La Marzocco. If the location is off-site, the location is mentioned; otherwise all Roaster Showcase events and cuppings are held in the La Marzocco Lab in Ballard:

December 10, time TBD
Pete’s Milk Delivery + Milk and Coffee Co + La Marzocco Dairy Field Trip to Pure Eire Farm
Start and end at La Marzocco, email Carolyn@lamarzocco.com for more details and to RSVP.

December 11, 2pm
Roasters Showcase
with Dillanos Coffee Roasters + Barista 22

December 18, 2pm
4th Annual Holiday Cupping and Food Drive
If you are interested in submitting your Holiday Blend or your favorite seasonal coffee, email Carolyn@lamarzocco.com.

Past Events

October 2, 2pm
Roasters Showcase
with DOMA Coffee

October 9, 1:30pm
Roasters Showcase
with Ratio Coffee

October 16, 2pm
Roasters Showcase
with Ladro Roasting 

September 25, 2015
Roasters Showcase
with Sustainable Harvest

July 30, 6-8:30pm
La Marzocco On The Road
@Novo Coffee

August 5, 2pm
with Cafe Imports

August 21, 1:30-3:30pm
Roasters Showcase
with Bluebird Coffee Roasters

August 27, 7-9:30pm
La Marzocco On The Road
@Sustainable Harvest Coffee

May 15, 1-3pm
Roasters Showcase
Hart Coffee Co.

May 18, 2015, 6:00 PM
Location: Tout Suite
Houston, Texas

May 20, 2015, 8:00 PM
Location: Cuvee Coffee Bar
Austin, Texas

May 22, 2015, 6:00 PM
Location: Oakcliff Coffee Roasters
Dallas, Texas

May 28, 2015, 6:00 PM
Location: Ultimo Coffee – Newbold
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

June 4, 2015, 7:00 PM
Location: La Colombe Andersonville
Chicago, Illinois

June 11, 2015, 6:00 PM
Location: Blueprint Coffee
St. Louis, Missouri

February 12, 2015, 2-5pm
NW Barista Competitor Sendoff

Proposition 65

This month, our customers in the State of California may notice new warning labels affixed to new La Marzocco espresso machines, and existing customers will be receiving warning labels and a request to affix the labels to their La Marzocco espresso machines and grinders. We thought it best to provide explanation for these warning labels here on our blog, too.

As California customers and others may be aware, The State of California enacted the California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, which is generally known as “Proposition 65.” Proposition 65 is a far-reaching law that applies to any company that operates in California, sells products in California, or manufactures products that may be sold in or brought into California.

Proposition 65 requires warning labels on any product that contains or may contain any of the more than 800 elements that the California Air Resources Board considers harmful. Many of the elements listed under Proposition 65 have been routinely used in everyday consumer items for years without documented harm.

The warning reads:

WARNING: This product contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer.

WARNING: This product contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm.

The penalties for not complying with Proposition 65 are significant. And there are no penalties for providing unnecessary warnings. Like many other manufacturers of all types of products, we have elected to provide a Proposition 65 notice out of an abundance of caution in order to avoid the potential for liability.

For more information about Proposition 65, please visit: http://www.oehha.ca.gov/prop65.html

Our lab is your lab: come learn with us

If it’s been awhile since you’ve visited the La Marzocco Learning Lab and Showroom in Seattle, we have some exciting reasons for you to make another trip. We have some new equipment on display and ready for you to try, including the just-launched Linea PB, and the Vulcano Swift grinder – both of which were on display for the first time at SCAA in Boston last month.

The Linea PB is a next-generation model that builds on the legacy of the Linea Classic (which has been in production for nearly 25 years) as a dependable, rugged workhorse that delivers results in the highest-volume café settings.

The Vulcano Swift is a conical burr grinder due to go into production later this year that features the Swift technology of grind, volumetric dose, and tamp.

We couldn’t be more excited about our new products and look forward to introducing them to you!

As always, we’re open Monday through Friday, from 9-5pm, and everyone is welcome. If you’re hoping for some dedicated time with your coffee on a specific piece of La Marzocco equipment, be sure to reserve a time, but you’re also welcome to drop by for a visit, a quick demo, and a coffee.

In addition to being available on a reserved basis, we have some exciting events planned in the Learning Lab over the coming months, so be sure to check back, or stay tuned via Twitter and Facebook about what’s coming up.

First up, we have a public cupping event with Olympia Coffee Roasters this Friday, May 17th 10:00-11:30.  Also on deck are coffee showcases from some of our customers from near and far. Be sure to come by to try some things you might not find every day in Seattle!

We’re also working on few educational and coffee science events, coming late spring/early summer.

If you have an idea you’d like to bring to the La Marzocco Learning Lab, or if there’s a topic you hope we’ll cover, we’re all ears – drop us a line at training@lamarzoccousa.com to start the conversation.

If you have interest in being a guest educator, using our community space for training, or just want to visit for a hands-on product demo please contact:

Sarah Dooley at training@lamarzoccousa.com

We look forward to seeing you soon!