World Barista Champ Hidenori Izaki Visits Manila For The First Time Plus A Latte Art Throwdown

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!

Guests, sponsors, bloggers, media, and the 28 participants for the Latte Art Throwdown were gathered in Coffee Project
VIP Guests : Federico Ippodimonte of Victoria Arduino Espresso Machines; Hidenori Izaki ; Cheche Samson of Coffee Project and the Host Xandra Rocha
From Left to Right : Hidenori Izaki , Federico Ippodimonte; Leo De Leon of Allegro Beverage Competition and Sly Samonte (who will soon represent our country in the upcoming competition in Korea this year)
Left to Right : Donita Rose (one of the judges for the Latter Art Throwdown); Emie San Beda of Lotus Biscoff
Some of the friendly baristas and crews from 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!

Mr Hidenori Izaki showcasing his very own Latte Art

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!

Hidenori Izaki preparing his very own Latte using the Victoria Arduino espresso machine

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.

Tv Personality and Foodie Xandra Rocha hosted the event

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.

Regi Santos spoke about Jolly Cow Fresh Milk

►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!

Emie San Beda of Lotus Biscoff

►Lotus Biscoff
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

Leo De Leon , President of Allegro Beverage Corporation

►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.

Federico Ippodimonte explaining their product Victoria Arduino espresso machine

►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!


Two of the 28 Baristas who participated the competition trying to impress the judges

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.

The judges deciding which Latte Art is the best

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!

Barista preparing his Latte using the Victoria Arduino Espresso Machine

IMG_0267tFor 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.

A female barista creating her own signature Latte
One of the signature Latte Art

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!


Judges unanimously picking the winner
A Latte Art created in a 3oz Size Cup

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.

The Latte Art created by the Finalists

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!

Judges having the tough time deciding


The winner of the Latte Art Throwdown

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!

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11 thoughts on “World Barista Champ Hidenori Izaki Visits Manila For The First Time Plus A Latte Art Throwdown

  • June 23, 2017 at 11:29 pm

    Awesome event! I love coffee but coffee hates me. Haha. I palpitate so hard whenever I drink coffee 🙁 So I have to avoid it even when it tastes so gooood. Anyways this is such a cool event, I heard there’s an upcoming barista challenge near my area so I hope I could get to attend as well. 🙂

  • June 23, 2017 at 11:34 pm

    This is the first time i heard about the name HIDENORI IZAKI. Didn’t know he’s the barista champ as i am not a fan of such events. But i do love coffee! Especially lattes! The first time i watched a coffee art done by a barista was at Nuvali and i was so amazed how they put art meticulously into coffees. Must be really interesting and this event looked fun!

  • June 24, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    I had been to the Coffee Project branch in Paranaque. But have not visited this branch. I like their ambiance. I’m not an avid coffee drinker but I also like milk in my coffee or tea.

  • June 24, 2017 at 5:33 pm

    Great to know Hidenori Izaki! I didn’t know championships are held for this art too! How I wish I could attend one such similar event. Great pictures, the fun spirit so well taken.

  • June 24, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    Wow! Such lucky guy. So many sponsors and that privilege to bring home something you wouldnt imagine yourself buying. Or at least in my case.

    Reading your story makes me want to try the art of designing my husband’s coffee, too. It seems fun and liberating – being able to let out that creativity and be seen in a cup you would soon serve your loved one.

  • June 24, 2017 at 7:04 pm

    I love coffee. Especially the special and beautiful ones. It’s truly art! It’s really awesome that Hidenori Izaki won the 2014 World Barista Championship. The Latte Art Throwdown looks so cool! They all seem great. Awesome event!

  • June 25, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    Coffee latte art is the one kind of art that I’m super frustrated at! I mean, don’t get me wrong about frustrations here but I’m actually so wow-ed by the works they make. It’s not as easy as it looks because I know they have tried a number of times to have that. I am truly in awe with their talents. Plus, it’s truly a good thing that Hidenori Izaki is sharing his knowledge about the art and his experiences as well!

  • June 25, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    I had no idea that a barista world championship even existed! Awesome you got to see the former champ and check out the latte art throw down…Looks like the competition was fierce. I would have hated to be a judge!

  • June 26, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    Being a coffee lover myself, I would like very much to attend such an event! I enjoy making my own coffee in the morning, but when I go to a coffee shop, I always have a latte. And having a latte by a world’s champion would be excellent.
    The event seems to be magnificently organized, according to the pictures. Well done!

  • June 27, 2017 at 7:45 pm

    I love the idea of the Latte Art Throwdown. I imagine it was an amazing event to attend. There’s nothing quite so delightful as an artfully made coffee. I had no clue that there was a barista world championship – but I wish I could’ve been there to sample some of those coffees. A well-made coffee is so incredibly soothing and uplifting.

  • June 27, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    Wowowow! I always loved ordering latte than the regular coffee but I haven’t get to watch how they make the latte art in person. It’s really a big event since a great barista shared and participated here! I love how the coffee shops came together for this 🙂


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