Baristas compete in Canadian latte art championship in Vancouver

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      A Canadian barista will vie again in the World Latte Art Championship next spring.

      The country’s representative will be chosen in a two-day competition on October 4 and October 5 at the Vancouver Convention Centre, a highlight of the Canadian Coffee and Tea Show.

      Sixteen coffee artists are participating in the event sponsored by the Dalla Corte Espresso Coffee Systems Inc. and other industry players.

      Dalla Corte, which distributes espresso machines made in Milan, Italy, conceived the idea of a Canadian latte art championship, and organized an exhibition-type show in last year’s coffee and tea fair held in Toronto as a warm-up.

      According to the company’s general manager, Sevan Istanboulian, this year’s event is sanctioned by World Coffee Events (WCE), the organization behind the world latte art championship.  

      The winner will fly to Shanghai in China next year for the 2016 world latte art championship.

      “This is a first time for Canada, and basically, we embraced the whole thing,” Istanboulian told the Straight in a phone interview Thursday (October 1) from Montreal.

      Latte art is the creation of designs and patterns in a cup of either latte or cappuccino, using steamed milk.

      “The difference and the plus side that we see now with the latte art taking up is that the public is starting to look for something more than just a shot of espresso,” Istanboulian observed.

      Istanboulian’s Dalla Corte company had invited WCE experts to train a pool of Canadian judges. The firm’s espresso machines will be used in the competition.

      “The idea for us is to bring it up to a higher standard,” Istanboulian said.

      According to available WCE records online, a Canadian by the name Lindsay Parker competed in the 2006 world championship.

      Rankings in competitions held in 2015, 2014, and 2013 do not indicate participation by a representative from Canada.

      Istanboulian has been in the coffee industry for 20 years, and he has seen countless art works in a cup of brew. He looks for visual contrast and symmetry as hallmarks of a good execution.

      “If you do put in front of someone something that you say, ‘Wow!’, I think that’s a winner,” he said.

      “With latte art, that visual aspect, the sky is the limit, how far you want to push as a barista,” Istanboulian also said. “It pushes your creativity, your artistic talent … It’s a very fun thing to do. Any barista working the bar, he can basically, daily improve his skills or her skills performing latte art on every cappuccino or latte they make.”