At the New York Coffee Festival, the alternative milk mavens at Pacific Foods hosted a Latte Art Throwdown with a twist. Baristas were given the opportunity to “throw down” (compete to see who can pour the most beautiful latte art) on the floor of the festival, using a couple of products from the Pacific Foods “Barista Series” line, including almond and coconut milks. When it comes to latte art, nut milks are known amongst baristas for their high level of difficulty; most alternative milks steam and pour quite differently than your typical cow's milk. But here at the fest, baristas in attendance were easily convinced to play. Perhaps it was because of the competition's inspiringly hefty twin prize pot, doling out of $500 (First Place), $300 (Second Place), or $200 (Third Place)—three prizes for each milk.
Dozens of baristas poured throughout the day, and photos were taken of their pours so judges Nathanael May (Portland Roasting Coffee), Anna Gutierrez (Barista 22), and Heather Ringwood (Espresso Parts) could compare art. Deb Kaminski, Director of Foodservice Marketing at Pacific, excitedly announced the winners:
Barista Series Coconut Latte Art Winners
First Place: Jai Lott
Second Place: Marcin Filipczuk
Third Place: Julio Esquivel
Barista Series Almond Latte Art Winners
First Place: Brandon Paul Weaver
Second Place: Nelson Icenhower
Third Place: Chris Sweeting
Judge May shared about Pacific’s latest giving campaign, Nourish Every Body, in which Instagram users are encouraged to photograph their use of Pacific products while making use of the #NourishEveryBody hashtag. Each grammed photo utilizing the hashtag and tagging @PacificFoods results in a meal given to a hungry child. Nearly 23,000 meals had been given through the program at the time of this writing.
Yes, this was an alternative milk latte art throwdown interested in not just beauty—and not just a frothy option for those among us who are lactose-adverse—but with the far nobler pursuit of feeding the world. I'll drink a coconut latte to that.