The nation-wide Crush The Rush 2: Cruise Into Summer tour from La Marzocco keeps on crushing it. Last Friday, at WeWork in New York City, the event series served learning sessions, plant-based foodstuffs, and a big old trophy to the 2019 Crush The Rush 2 Northeast Champions. There were panels! There were clowns! There were dance-offs! There were upside-down umbrella poncho caps! Brooklyn-based photographer Jeremy Paul Hernandez was there to document it all—the terrifying lows, the dizzying highs, the creamy middles. Here are just some of the highlights from CTR2: CIS NYC!

Learning Sessions!

Like all good Crush The Rushes, teams compete during the day in closed-door time trials while a slate of educational sessions are held. These sessions dive into tech, ergonomics, sustainability, and cafe design. Check out the Cafe Design Learning Session from San Francisco featuring Umeko Motoyoshi, Alice Wong, and Nabeel Silmi.

A crucial part of every Crush The Rush 2 involves mindful movement. In Seattle, occupational therapist and certified hand therapist Heidi Blackie offered tips and tricks to stay healthy behind the bar. In San Francisco, corrective exercise specialist Lily Luciano led the crowd through a range of foundational exercises. New York’s event welcomed Certified Hand Therapist Nicole Pizzolato who took the audience through a whole series of banded movements (you can check it out on our Instagram Story Highlights!)

Ezra Baker (Stumptown Coffee Roasters) moderated a panel about ergonomics featuring Laurel Cudden (Grade-A Safety), Brandon Epting (Joe Coffee Company), Amie Raskin (Intelligentsia Coffee), and César Vega (Cafe Integral). The panel questioned the merits of a three-group espresso machine versus a two-group espresso machine, the importance of an efficient bar, and New York City’s strict health code.

The Competition!

As the time trials came to an end and 17 teams were whittled down to the final eight, WeWork transformed into a stage for an epic showdown of some of the speediest baristas in NYC. Two teams compete at the same time, delivering eight drinks to the judges as quickly as possible. No spills, no stains, perfectly filled—these are the requirements for hand-off. Meanwhile, teams must finish sidework and work together under intense pressure. Emcee Joshua Littlefield’s pulsating playlist blasts Sandstorm. It was a hot, humid night in New York City.

Did we mention dance-offs? Between rounds teams and audience members took part in bonus-rounds—we’re talking dancing, we’re talking basketball hoop hats, we’re talking two people taped together brewing coffee.

Dancing.
Strutting.
Dropping.
Shooting hoops.
Brewing coffee taped together.

The top two teams of the evening were Team Never Lose That Smile (Daniel Lee, Ujae Lee, Christina Lee) and Team Bop Bop Bop Glitter 2 The Top (Zee Capital, Topher Ou, T. Ben Fischer). Eight drinks were put on the board. The sidework for the final round involved placing small objects into giant bins of spent coffee grounds—each team had to find all objects before the round was over. In a first for the event series, Team BBBG2TT employed an ingenious strategy by simply dumping the coffee grounds on the floor.

Grounds on the floor. For more tips-and-tricks, check out our interview with Joshua Littlefield.
Team Never Lose That Smile (Daniel Lee, Ujae Lee, Christina Lee)

In the end, it was Team Never Lose That Smile that took home the massive trophy and the title of Northeast Crush The Rush 2 Champions. Congratulations to all who participated—if you didn’t take home the trophy you probably took home wonderful memories. And isn’t that what really matters?

Next up Crush the Rush advances to Chicago—tickets available now. Who will advance to take home the big prize in the Windy City? We can’t wait to find out.

Get your Crush The Rush Chicago and Nashville tickets right here.

Follow @Sprudge on Instagram for much more coverage from Crush The Rush NYC, SF, & Seattle. 

All photos by Jeremy Paul Hernandez for Sprudge. Follow Jeremy Paul Hernandez on Instagram.

Sprudge is the official media partner of Crush The Rush.