Dreams played a large role in Irvine Quek Siew Lhek’s World Latte Art Championship (WLAC) performance, from his goal of earning Malaysia its first coffee championship trophy to his dream of being alone on a deserted island, which inspired his island animal designs. He has always dreamed big.
“I actually had a hidden message to deliver in my story and routine. What I said to the judges and audience was ‘I had a dream’, and I presented all the animals I saw in my dream,” Irvine says.
As it turns out, Irvine’s dreams did come true. He is the 2018 World Latte Art Champion.
In the final round, Irvine’s designs included hornbill and monkey free pours as well as a dolphin for his designer latte art.
To create his designs, Irvine used the animal eye pouring technique that his predecessor, 2017 World Latte Art Champion Arnon Thitiprasert, invented to create his designs in the prior year’s competition.
“I worked hard to master this technique and bring it to another level of difficulty. What I was aiming for was to make realistic latte art even more realistic,” he says.
Irvine attributes his victory to a combination of his latte art talents and having a personable presence on stage.
“Definitely my skills [helped] but beside this, I think my personality and character on the stage [contributed to my win]. I truly enjoyed presenting,” he says.
Irvine hopes to use his WLAC title to launch his own brand, and produce milk pitchers and other merchandise.
“I love to study pitchers and frequently modify them. I’m looking for an opportunity to launch my own pitcher which would be designed for making latte art,” Irvine says.
Despite his victory, Irvine’s thirst for competition has not been sated. The barista says his goal is to earn a few more WLAC titles.
“I still think that I’m not good enough and want to keep improving,” he says.
Irvine says he hopes his title, as well as Regine Wai Yee Beng of Page 2 Café placing second in the World Brewers Cup, brings more attention to Malaysia’s coffee scene.
Learn more about the other 2018 Coffee Champions:
- Meet the World Cup Tasters Champion: Jinwoo Yama Kim
- Meet the World Brewers Cup Champion: Emi Fukahori
- Meet the World Coffee in Good Spirits Champion: Dan Fellows
- World Barista Champion Agnieszka Rojewska makes history
“This title means a lot for me and my country. It’s the first time we got into the finals [of the World Coffee Championships] and this is our first World Champion title,” he says.
“Even though I’m just 20 years old right now, I want to share my skills, knowledge, and experience with everyone who has the same dream as me.”
Image credit: Geórgia Thomé