Being a coffee lover, I always have that desire to drink a great tasting coffee to start up my day. Don’t get me wrong, Instant coffees may give us comfort we need every morning but nothing can be more satisfying that having a sip of those creamy latte served by different coffee shops. Thanks to the baristas who share their skills and talents to serve us those perfect cups of Latte! Making a Latte is not just about stirring or boiling, it is an ART and it surprisingly requires advance skills to master such craft. It is something served not just with skills and art but also with passion and this is exactly what Hidenori Izaki did to become a successful and world renown barista today!
Hidenori Izaki was hailed as the World Barista Champion in 2014 and he is also the first Asian to win the title. Now, he is sharing his knowledge to every barista in the world, encouraging every aspiring barista to take their skills to a new level. Interestingly, Mr Izaki is now here in Manila for the very first time and he didn’t just shared his experience and knowledge to all aspiring baristas but also acted as one of the final judges in the recently concluded Latte Art Throwdown held at Coffee Project in Macapagal Blvd in Pasay. This event gathers different baristas from all over the country to showcase the best of their creativity and passion for coffee. The event was made possible through the partnerships of Allegro Beverage, Victoria Arduino , Jolly Cow Fresh Milk , Lotus Biscoff and Coffee Project!
The event started around 5 pm and was held at the Coffee Project shop in Macapagal Blvd in Pasay City. Coffee Project welcomed their visitors with their cozy atmosphere filled with flowers and greens. The event gathers friends from media, bloggers, and various guests and sponsors to witness the Latte Art Throwdown involving a total of 28 baristas from different coffee shops from all over the country!
INSPIRATION FROM HIDENORI IZAKI
Prior to the competition, the guests and the sponsors were given enough time to give their talks and one of the highlights was the one from Mr Izaki as he shared his very own experiences and how he became a barista! Hidenori Izaki visited the country for the very first time not just to share his skills but also to inspire baristas by sharing his own experience and his journey of becoming a successful barista!
Before establishing the Samurai Coffee Experience, a global coffee consulting company where he surprisingly managed to travel 200 days a year from one country to another to educate people about coffee, conduct consultancy, professional barista training and product development; Izaki had a very humble beginning! He even admitted that he actually quit high school believing that he can pursue his desired career without the need of going through formal education. Since his family owned a coffee company, his passion for coffee started at a very young age yet his desire and passion to become a successful barista was not yet molded until he started joining different barista competitions in Japan. This eventually become his obsession and he started taking this passion professionally by studying the craft abroad!
His most recent achievement was when he finally hailed as the champion in the 2014 World Barista Championship which was truly a milestone as he was the first ever Asian to ever get the title. Berg Wu of Taiwan was the second one to earn the title who just one the competition last year and hopefully our very own Sly Samonte will earn such title this year which will be held in Korea.
WORDS FROM THE SPONSORS
Aside from Hidenori Izaki who shared his experience and journey of becoming a successful and world-renown barista, different representatives from the sponsors took the center stage to promote their products and to give up some interesting trivia about their respective companies.
►Jolly Cow Fresh Milk
A Latte will not be completed without one of its main ingredients ~ milk! Jolly Cow Fresh Milk has been the top choice of most baristas and coffee shops in the country. In fact, Jolly Cow Fresh Milk is the official milk partner of the 2017 Philippine Barista Championships and 2017 Philippine National Latte Art Competition. Mr Santos wittingly explained why Jolly Cow is the best choice among all the milk products for coffee and it is simply because the milk literally came from “Happy Cows” from Europe, hence the title “Jolly Cow”. With right thickness and consistency and right amount of natural sweetness makes it a perfect match for a perfect latte!
If Oreos are perfectly matched with milk, Coffee should have their partners too! Although most Filipinos paired it with Pandesal every morning but Lotus Biscoff can prive you how well these biscuits can go with your coffee! They are indeed a perfect match and it is not just a bold claim because there is actually a scientific studies to prove it (yes you heard it right!). According to Ms San Beda, foods that share the same aroma and compounds, taste good together and these are exactly the components that Lotus Biscoff caramelized biscuits and coffee have in common! The company has been in the industry for 85 years (since 1932) and has become a perfect coffee companion all over the world
►Allegro Beverage Corporation
Mr De Leon cheerfully made his speech and cracked some funny jokes. He even made an interesting connection between his company, Allegro Beverage and his partners through their company names. We learned that Allegro means Cheerful and Happy in Italy which makes them a perfect business partner with Jolly Cow. Allegro Beverage Corporation is the country’s leading provider of complete coffee solution. It is the exclusive distributor of the finest espresso machines, brewers, coffee beans, syrup, sauces and teas from different countries.
►Victoria Arduino / Nuova Simonelli
Mr Federico Ippodimonte came all the way from Italy to promote and showcase their product, the Victoria Arduino and Nuova Simonelli espresso machines. The company is the leading manufacturer of espresso machines. Their espresso machines are the one officially used in World Barista Championships! Mr Ippodimonte explains why their products are best for any coffee shop business and how crucial the roles of these machines in making a perfect cup of latte and coffees!
THE LATTE ART THROWDOWN
One of the highlights of this event, the Latte Art Throwdown! It was participated by different baristas from different coffee shops all over the country. This includes some baristas from Coffee Project, Starbucks, Figaro, Krispy Kreme and a whole lot more. The competition will be on a tournament format where the 28 participants will be matched in pairs. This will cut them into 14 who will proceed in the second round. They will pass through another round (including a wild card) until there’s only two for the final round.
It was a fast-paced tournament where judges decide the winner between A and B by simply pointing the winners out. The panel of judges by the way includes actress and food blogger Donita Rose, Chefs Jackie and Rolando Laudico and Silvester “Sly” Samonte. Hidenori Izaki, on the other hand, was in charged to choose the winner in the final round. I never really thought that a Latte Art showdown was such an intense event and I cannot help but to admire the talent and skills that these baristas have!
It also made me realized how delicate the process of making a Latte! It is not really easy and requires skills and artistry to come up with a creative Latte Art design!
For the first round, Baristas were encouraged to come up with the common Latte Art designs in a short period of time and they must prepare it in front of the judges.
The second round of the competition, the baristas are now encouraged to showcase their very own signature Latte Art! They really had come to up with an impressive design to win the hearts of the judges!
The third round is way more complicated and challenging and sure put the Baristas creativity and skills to the test. They were all encouraged to create a Latte Art out of a 3oz sized cups! Only few managed to come up with clear and neat designs. The next round requires the remaining baristas to do a combo designs.
They Finally went down to two Baristas : Mark Lester Rafael of Satchmi and Andy Luyugoy of Toby’s Estate. The final round was quite tricky. Each of them were encouraged to throw down their best Latte Art but the the twist here is that they was asked to copy each other’s art!
AND THE WINNER IS…
After minutes of waiting, the judges finally came up with the winner! Andy Luyugoy of Toby’s Estate won the throwdown and he will bring home his very own Espresso machine and bunch of supplies from sponsors! Cheers!
Feel free to watch the Video Summary of this event Below!
And Don’t forget to follow me in my social media accounts for more updates
Facebook : It’s Me Bluedreamer!
Instagram : @bluedreamer1227
Twitter : @bluedreamer_27