Aaron Dongsu Shin of Short Black Cafe has continued his winning streak. After taking first place at the 2017 ASCA Southern Region Latte Art Champion last month, he won the Veneziano Coffee Roasters Smackdown on 27 October.
Teddy Shim of A Thousand Blessngs placed second, Joel Tan of Cote Terra placed third, and Joel Irwin of Alimentari placed fourth.
A total of 32 baristas went head to head in a knock out round format last night until the final two remained standing for one last showdown.
Grinders’ Training Manager Nick Percy, World Latte Art Judge Lance Brown and Veneziano Barista Trainer Erin Sampson had a few tough decisions to make as the offical judges. They were presented with some impressive stacked hearts, tulips, swans and free pour designs. To make things that little bit harder for the final, Aaron and Teddy were asked to pour two beverages – one latte and one macchiato free pour design – with their opposite pouring hand.
“As soon as I heard that I thought I was in trouble,” Aaron says. “I normally pour with my right hand so my left hand pour wasn’t as clean as I’d like. My strategy tonight was just to pour things I’m comfortable with, and patterns I like.”
Aaron won $1000 thanks to major sponsor Pura, with Cafetto cleaning packs and Pullman tamps gifts for the runners up, and support from sponsor SilverChef.
“I think I’ll save a lot of it, and buy my girlfriend a small present too,” he says.
Aaron says events such as the Veneziano Smackdown are great preparation for his ASCA Nationals performance, taking place at the Melbourne International Coffee Expo in 2017.
To help kick start the party, espresso martinis were flowing thanks to Bellarine Brewing Company and Taiwanese street food a plenty, courtesy of Ghost Kitchen.
“Tonight was a great opportunity to celebrate Veneziano’s recent rebranding, but also to unite the coffee community in our new River Street premises,” says Veneziano’s Craig Dickson. “We haven’t held a smackdown since we farewelled our First Pour site, so we’re thrilled to have hosted such a vibrant event that’s attracted incredible talent.”
For more information visit venezianocoffee.com.au/