Posted in Kafevend Blog

We may be gearing up for the world renowned Wimbledon Championship here in the UK, but it's been an exciting and highly competitive time of year for coffee professionals too. This year's biggest European 'World of Coffee' event took place last week in Sweden's second city, Gothenburg. As usual, the event was host to both new and established names in coffee and also to a variety of competitions, including the 'World Latte Art Championship'.

Competition standards are incredibly high with top practitioners from each area of expertise vying to win the much coveted first place. Last year's latte art champion was German barista Christian Ullrich, while this year's top prize was presented to Caleb Cha, an Australian who's generally to be found working for Cafenatics, a popular Melbourne coffee shop chain. Competing baristas must show off their skills in both free pour and etching techniques. Two of Caleb's designs featured animals, a free pour peacock and a zebra that incorporated both disciplines. Each design has to be produced to perfection twice. We can only imagine the hours of painstaking practice that went into his creations and yet his performance, which can easily be found on Youtube, looks poised and so effortless. On a romantic note, Caleb also proposed to his girlfriend at the event; she said yes - so double congratulations are in order!

The talented runners up surely suggest that in 2015 the best in latte art is happening in the Far East with 2nd - 6th places awarded to baristas from China, South Korea, Japan, Thailand and Taiwan. This will come as no surprise to anyone who read our blog featuring the Japanese trend for 3D latte art earlier this month. Who knows - perhaps a future 'World of Coffee' event will include a competition for this latest offshoot of the art form!

Caleb Cha wasn't the only person from Down Under with a big coffee win this year either. Australian, Sasa Sestic, was crowned 'World Barista Champion' at a 'World of Coffee' event held earlier this year in Seattle. Sasa, originally from Serbia, now lives in Canberra, where he also runs his business - Ona Coffee. Canberra coffee lovers have since flocked to the city's three Ona coffee shops to drink some first class coffee. To secure a place in Seattle Sasa had to win in Australia first and this year was his seventh attempt, which just goes to show that commitment really is key.

Placing first in the 'World Coffee Roasting Championship' and the 'World Brewers Cup Championship' were competitors who hadn't had nearly as far to travel; Audun Sørbotten and Odd-Steiner Tøllefsen are both Norwegians. The coffee roasting competition, only in its third year, is no less demanding for its comparatively recent arrival. Competitors have to be able to evaluate the quality of green coffee and come up with a roasting profile that brings out each coffee's best characteristics to full advantage – a highly specialised skill that requires a wealth of experience in the field. If roasting coffee beans is something you'd like to know more about, check back in on Wednesday for our 'Don't Burn The Beans' feature.

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