Kevin Kim, former barista of White Henry in Sydney, is the winner of Vitasoy’s Double Shot Challenge.
The competition rules outlined that baristas had to complete two identical latte art – one using full-fat dairy milk and the other with Vitasoy’s oat milk – and upload a photo on Instagram using the hashtag #doubleshotchallenge.
Kevin says that while he had never worked with oat milk before he had a secret on how to create perfect latte art from non-lactose milk.
“I had quite a bit of experience with alternative milks, and I was given a tip on how to make latte art with oat milk,” he says.
“When working with oat milk or any other alternative milk, after you extract the espresso into the cup, add a little bit of cold milk of whatever it is you’re using. Steam up the rest of the milk to your usual temperature and then do your latte art. You won’t have any problems at all.”
Kevin’s design was a nested swan that he created in less than five minutes.
“This was my first competition and I’m not a big competition person anyway, so I was really surprised to have won it,” Kevin says.
Since winning the Vitasoy Challenge, Kevin says it’s encouraged him to not only work with oat milk a lot more, but also drink it.
“Oat milk is the easiest milk I’ve ever used, it’s the closest to full cream milk. I’m not a big milk coffee drinker, however, I will actually recommend oat milk as it doesn’t take away the characteristics from an espresso milk drink,” Kevin says.
After working in hospitality for more than five years, Kevin began his coffee journey with little experience.
“I studied engineering at the University of Sydney and to get by I used to do odd jobs at cafés here and there,” Kevin says.
“After graduating, I worked three months at a system engineering company and I decided it wasn’t for me. I started looking for a full-time job at a café and I applied at White Henry and I worked there full time ever since.”
While there, Kevin says the Vitasoy Double Shot Challenge presented itself at a time when he was least expecting it.
“There was a bottle of oat milk and a competition card left on the counter and one of my co-workers encouraged me to enter,” Kevin says.
As the winner of the Double Shot Challenge, Kevin was awarded an all-expenses paid trip to the World of Coffee taking place in Berlin, Germany from 6 to 8 June where the World Latte Art, Coffee in Good Spirits, and Cup Tasters Championships were held.
“My heart is quite big on latte art, and I love watching people compete. The talent that that’s out there already is inspiring. You have people like Jibbi Little (Australian Specialty Coffee Association Latte Art Champion) who are competing with other big names. It’s incredible. I love watching it,” Kevin says.
“I’m also looking forward to trying out different beans and checking out new products that are currently trending and hopefully be able to bring home a few bags of beans.”
When looking to his future, Kevin’s recent move to Queensland means he’s able to focus on a bigger dream of opening his own café.
“In the next five years I want to have created a café where I employ those who are socially disadvantaged whether they’re troubled teens, homeless, or just need a leg up,” Kevin says.
“The café industry is such an easy place to get your foot through the door, the skills you learn are invaluable. I want to teach people who don’t often get a second chance at life and help them put their feet on the ground.”