Alexandrea Duong poured milk onto a steaming cup of coffee, hoping to create a perfect latte heart.
"Nope, I messed up," the Stone Bru barista said, shaking her head in disapproval. "Now, it looks like two butts."
It took Duong, who goes by the nickname "Bubz," two attempts at mastering a bit of ephemeral artery art. But her creamy heart was truly beautiful ... for a few minutes.
"That's disappointing," she said, inside the 400 Gold Circle coffeehouse. "It was pretty though."
While Duong isn't slated to be one of the latte artists competing at the second annual Siouxland Coffee Festival, many bean-brewing, wannabe Rembrandts will be.
Featuring nearly 30 different vendors, the Siouxland Coffee Festival will be taking place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Sioux City Convention Center, 801 Fourth St.
The tri-state region's largest coffee festival will offer samplings, coffee sampling, live entertainment, cappuccino lingo lessons in addition to the latte art contest, which will be judged by Barnaby Holmes, the 2019 Midwest Coffee Tasters Champion.
Proceeds for the Siouxland Coffee Festival will benefit Volunteer Siouxland, a Sioux City-based nonprofit organization that connects volunteers to other nonprofit organizations that need their help.
"Over the past few years, we've been able to connect nearly 2,700 volunteers with 150 Siouxland nonprofits," explained Ryan Martinez.
As one of the co-founders of Volunteer Siouxland, Martinez is knowledgeable about the world of nonprofits. However, as one of the co-founders of the Siouxland Coffee Festival, he admitted to being out of his cup-of-Joe comfort zone at times.
"Before the coffee festival began, I was a black coffee sort of guy," he said. "Since then, I've become more of an Americano fan."
Still, Martinez may pick up some percolating pointers from the variety of coffee festival vendors.
"While the majority of our vendors are from around here, we do have representatives from companies on the West and East Coasts," he said.
That's because the Midwest is considered the last frontier for caffeine-minded mavens.
"Both coasts are used to coffee culture," Martinez said. "This is our turn."
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So, does that mean Siouxland actually has a clique-y coffee culture?
"With businesses like Stone Bru popping up," Martinez said, "we're getting there."
If that's the case, we better become more acquainted with the bean.
This is why Martinez is building up the educational aspect of the coffee festival.
"We'll be teaching attendees everything from home brew methods, how to roast coffee, what certain terms mean and how coffees from different regions taste," he said. "After all, there is a rich history that revolves around coffee."
In many ways, a coffee aficionado is no different than a wine snob or a craft beer snob.
Actually, there is one advantage that coffee has over wine and beer. According to Martinez, you can paint by using spent coffee grounds.
Um ... say what?!?
No, that's right. The folks from Poppin' Bottles n' Brushes will be offering a seminar that is guaranteed to attract excited espresso admirers.
Can your nerves take even more news? Martinez said tea will be making its debut at the Siouxland Coffee Festival.
"It's been our experience that coffee drinkers also like tea," he explained. "When it gets cold outside, both beverages hit the spot,"
Yet, you can't make cool designs with teabags.
Don't believe us? Just ask Duong.
"Making a heart in a latte is my go-to design," she said, creating another milky masterpiece. "I can also make a tulip but that takes a steady hand."
Hmm, a steady hand at a coffee festival? Yeah, like that's gonna happen.