Specialty coffee, for all its nuance and delicate flavors, is really an industry about people. Yes, a very good cup of coffee is the conduit for that connection, but it is the people and the stories across the supply chain that are the most compelling. One of those people is Anita Tam. The creator of Slow Pour Supply and a driving force behind the reemergence of the US Latte Art Championship, Tam is the subject of a new short film telling her story starting before she became a powerhouse in the industry.
Created by digital production team The Pour and sponsored by Pacific Barista Series, the profile is the latest in a video series called Pourtraits that shares the stories of the people behind the drinks. Prior installations have focused on the people behind Onyx Coffee Lab, Black & White Coffee Roasters, Glitter Cat, Deadstock Coffee, the Boston Intersectional Coffee Collective, and now Tam (interviewed here by Pacific’s Nathanael May on the Seed to Cup podcast). In the five-minute video, the Hong Kong-born Houston resident discusses her time pre-coffee studying music before waxing philosophic about latte art, an area of specialty coffee—particularly as part of throwdowns—had lost a bit of favor in the cafe zeitgeist over claims of it being wasteful.
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But hearing Tam talk about it, once cannot help but feel a passion for latte art be reignited. To Tam, latte art is so much more than a milk doodle in espresso, it is a physical realization of the barista’s dedication, a visual way to translate their passion for the craft to the consumer. And the oft-unheralded milk pitcher is the tool “for baristas to leave their mark on the coffee, using latte art in particular.”
It’s a wonderful video about a wonderful person who perfectly encapsulates what makes specialty coffee the thing so many people have dedicated their lives and careers to and a must-watch for anyone looking to recapture that emotional connection with latte art.
Zac Cadwalader is the managing editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.
Disclaimer: Pacific Barista Series is an advertising partner with the Sprudge Media Network