The World Latte Art Championship is by far the most photographed competition in the entire World Coffee Events portfolio. And why not? It's a living gallery of some of the finest consumable art in the world—and perhaps the only form of art with an expiration of less than three minutes. One can photograph the moment with the mind's eye, but why not jump on stage and snap a pic for Instagram instead?
36 of the world's top latte artists took the stage in Sweden to show off the very best of their abilities in the medium of espresso and milk. And show off they did!
Each competitor was required to pour a free-pour (using the pitcher only) macchiato-sized drink, a free-pour latte, and a “designer” latte that could incorporate the use of etching tools and other ingredients. In their routine, the competitors were asked to pour two sets of each drink, trying to exactly reproduce the reference designs that had been photographed during the somewhat more relaxed “Art Bar” pouring session that opened the competition.
Read on for our recap of the World Latte Art Championships final pours from the planet's six best latte artists.
Sixth Place: Hong-Sheng Liao, Cafe Moment, Taiwan
The audience cheered loud for Hong-Sheng Liao of Cafe Moment in Taiwan, who dazzled judges with his intricately etched flying butterfly pattern. Hong-Sheng Liao drew inspiration from the cinema for his free-pour latte, pouring a medieval coat of arms from his favorite films about the Middle Ages.
Fifth Place: Arnon Thitiprasert, Ristr8tt0, Thailand
Arnon? Oh yes! Arnon Thitiprasert asserted his command of the milk pitcher during his outstanding finals routine. Think fantastical depictions of gentle swans, mighty owls mid-flight, and mystical dragons with sinister smiles. Wait, don't think, look!
Fourth Place: Mao Nagura, Fonz, Japan
Mao Nagura of Fonz in Japan wowed judges with a masterful display of latte artistry. The Moche people of ancient Peru worshipped the flamingo and depicted the creature in their art; Mao Nagura deftly depicted the bird in her designer drink etched latte art, and if the Moche were around now, we think they'd be buzzing over it. Mao Nagura poured three lovely tulips in a macchiato and a pleasant double double in the cappuccino free-pour.
Third Place: Kyeong-woo Jung, South Korea
Can-do Kyeong-Woo Jung was among the finalists to stand out for his application of an orange accent color in his creations. According to Empower Yourself With Color Psychology, the color orange radiates warmth and happiness, and you don't have to be a color psychologist to tell that warmth and happiness radiated over the judges and audience in Sweden. Color flourishes and swirls, five hearts, and three rosettas with swirls filled the cup for Kyeong-Woo Jung's designer latte. Coconuts were dangling from a carefully executed free-pour palm tree, and for the macchiato course? A pleasing three-part multi-tiered play on the tulip.
Second Place: Xuechao Wang, Jiangbeilerean, China
Hearts sang for Xuechao Wang, who finished second with a glorious treasure chest of heart-themed coffee drinks. One of the only finalists to actually name all beverages, we're happy to report that the macchiato's contrast was on point for “Heart In Heart”. “I am not alone. I have a team. We are one,” Xuechao Wang said of his macchiato course.
But how does one find Xuechao Wang's wonderland? “Take a sparkling heart to find my wonderland,” he explained to the judges as he delivered a bordered flourish tulip named “Sparkling Heart”.
And the designer latte? That would be “Born of Fire”, in which the competitor encouraged each of us—all of us—to “abandon the past and start over.” Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, we sip our latte a few days after the event, contemplating what happened last week, and project full-color slides of his routine:
First Place: Caleb Cha, Cafenatics, Australia
Ha-Caleb Cha-cha-cha! The artist from Cafenatics in Australia took top prize at this year's World Latte Art Championship. For a complete write-up of his winning pours, click this hyperlink.
And that does it for the top 18 pours at the World Latte Art Championship in the Year of our Lord 2015. Enjoy more World Latte Art coverage on SprudgeLive.com, our global hub for all things coffee sports and creative coffee arts.
Zachary Carlsen is a co-founder and editor at Sprudge.com. Read more Zachary Carlsen on Sprudge.
All photos by Zachary Carlsen for Sprudge.com. Want to use our photos? Contact us!