Arnon Thitiprasert of Rostr8to in Thailand credits Australia for opening his eyes to the potential of latte art.
“Over the four years I spent in Australia, the country had a big influence on my way of thinking and making coffee. It also inspired the concept of my first cafe called Ristr8to, and the types of coffee I serve, such as long black and flat whites,” Arnon says.
His appeal in latte art was also motivated by two of his favourite Australian baristas – Jack Hanna, and Scottie Callaghan. “I watched [Scottie’s] video pouring one rosetta to seven rosettas on Youtube over and over again for many month,” Arnon says.
Arnon went on to master the craft himself, driven by how latte art resonates with consumers and baristas alike. Having dedicated his life to latte art, Arnon impressed the judges at the WLAC for the third time with a new pouring technique and a playful story that intertwined each of his patterns, about a rabbit who becomes friends with a deer and a fox.
For his art bar, Arnon produced a rabbit on the tree, hiding from the fox walking under the tree in the moonlight. For his first free pour latte he poured a Jumping Rabbit on a tree. For his second free pour latte he produced a Deer Looking Back, and for his free pour macchiato a Walking Fox with etching.
The patterns, in Arnon’s opinion, set a new standard of free pour latte art. He received two scores of six points, which he says have never been given to any competitor in the history of the WLAC.
Arnon says most new patterns come from combining existing technique like rosetta, tulip, hearts and dragging them together to create something new. But he wanted to come up with something different. And he did – a free pour animal eye (in his rabbit and deer patterns) without etching.
“It requires a very precise pour and exactly the right amount of milk to make it (too much then the hole will sink, too little and the head will look too big). I came up with the idea accidentally when I tried to do the eyes of my rabbit but ran out of milk in one of my attempts. So, I just made a circle of milk and without thinking created the hole using the coffee as the eye. I then practiced for two months to make sure that I knew the exact amount of milk to create that hole.”
Leading up to the WLAC, Arnon practiced his routine five hours each day – on top of his normal 10-hour café work, four days a week.
“Personally, [winning] is the reward of my time, passion, and effort. I have spent 10 years of my life trying to make the very best cup of coffee along with the best latte art,” he says. “Professionally, it is the biggest achievement in my barista career. It shows how much passion I have in my job and how much I practiced to be the best.”
Image: Jordan Sanchez for World Coffee Events