South Korea wins World Latte Art, Greece wins World Coffee in Good Spirits

Australia’s reign as World Latte Art Champion is over.

Um Paul of South Korea won the World Latte Art Championship (WLAC) on 1 April, ending Caleb Cha’s reign as the world’s best latte artist.

Qi Li from China placed second, Minako Yoshizumi from Japan placed third, Dhang Tamang of the United Kingdom placed fourth, Agnieszka Rojewska of Poland placed fifth, and Sensory Lab’s Ben Morrow placed sixth in the WLAC finals.

Um Paul has been practicing latte art since 2004. Umpaul told World Coffee Events (WCE) he was a barista who enjoyed making coffee because of the enjoyment it brings to many people.

In the WLAC each finalist had to produce a free pour latte, a designer pattern latte, and free pour espresso macchiato for the panel of judges. They critiqued each pattern based on execution, replication, and creativity. Umpaul produced an Angel for his free pour, a Baby Swan for his macchiato, and Tinker Bell for his designer pattern.

Australia’s Ben passed the Art Bar round with his Hungry Hummingbird design, and then the preliminary rounds to reach the finals. Ben may not have taken top honours on this occasion, but he was happy with his overall performance, noting the WCE event was a “seriously excellent competition” on his Instagram account.

More than 70 baristas from around the world gathered to compete in four world coffee championship events taking place at Hotelex in Shanghai, China from 29 March to 1 April.

In the World Coffee in Good Spirits Championship (CIGS), Michalis Dimitrakopoulos from The Underdog won first place, making Greece and The Underdog back-to-back CIGS champions. Martin Hudak of Slovakia placed second, and Berg Wu of Taiwan placed third. Australia’s Shae Macnamara of Grinders Coffee placed fourth.

George Koustoumpardis from The Underdog in Athens, Greece won the 2015 CIGS.

“I would like to thank all the people supporting me for my first time [competing at the worlds],” Michalis posted on his Instragram account.

Michalis told WCE his love for coffee along with a continuous quest for knowledge has lead him to achievements that he is proud of, including being the 2016 CIGS champion of Greece.

In the Spirit Bar section of the CIGS Championship, competitors spun a wheel to determine whether they’d use ingredients from Grand Marnier, Kavalan Whisky, Monin, or Tesisseir by Jascaffe in their routine. Competitors had 10 minutes to produce two identical coffee and alcohol-based designer drinks, and two Irish coffees for judges.

In the World Coffee Roasting Championship (WCRC), Alexandru Niculae of Barista School in Romania won first place. Dmitrii Borodai of Double B Coffee&Tea in Russia placed second, and Matthew Robley-Siemonsma of Prufrock Coffee in the United Kingdom placed third. See Alexandru’s winning roast profile here.

Alexandru discovered his passion for coffee four years ago in Miami, Florida when he visited a coffee roastery. “It’s an honour to represent Romania for the second time at the world championship,” Alexandru told WCE. “Because I am a barista as well, I am always searching for the best coffees. Roasting gives me the opportunity to create the most interesting roasting profiles that accentuate the character of the origin.”

The first WCRC took place in 2012. This event is designed to feature the talent and skill of the dedicated men and women involved in the artisanal craft of roasting specialty coffee.

Rounding off the four championship results was the World Cup Tasters Championship (WCTC). Juan Gabriel Céspedes of Costa Rica won the World Cup Tasters Championship for the second year in a row. Dongho Lee of South Korea took second place and Mateusz Petlinski of Germany took third place.

Gabriel scored seven out of eight cups correctly in the final round, which was only his second time ever missing a cup in competition. “[Winning] means a good sense of pride both personally and for my country,” Juan told BeanScene post 2015 win.

The celebrations continued at the official afterparty hosted by CMA Astoria, Dazheng, and Hotelex at Shanghai Himalayas Wuji area.

Congratulations to Ben, Shae and Harry Ko (in the CTC) on representing Australia proudly at the world level, and did Australia’s own Cafetto, the competition’s Official Cleaning Products Sponsor.

Image credit: World Coffee Events (WCE) Top right – World Latte Art Champion 2016, Umpaul Um of South Korea.

Image credit: Brent Williams. Middle – Australian representatives Ben Morrow, Harry Ko and Shae Macnamara with World Latte Art Judges Jeremy Regan and Lance Brown, and Sensory Lab’s Ross Quail. 

Bottom: image credit WCE. World Cup Tasters Champion Juan Gabriel Céspedes of Costa Rica.

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