The first SCAA U.S. Latte Art Championship is being held in Seattle from 24 to 27 April. Dalla Corte is official sponsor of the competition with its dc pro espresso machines.
SCAA – Specialty Coffee Association of America – is about to add a new, important item to the list of its yearly championships: Latte Art official competitions, which will be sponsored by Dalla Corte, with its dc pro espresso machines (already used in SCAE World Latte Art and World Coffee in Good Spirits finals), for the next three years. “It is a new, important opportunity for the baristas’ community, since they will have the chance to show their skills and professionalism” stated Lara Gallagher, SCAA senior events manager. And it is, indeed, a great success for Dalla Corte North America (which includes Dalla Corte ECS in the USA and Dalla Corte ECS in Canada) and its indefatigable managers, Skip Finley and Sevan Istanboulian, who worked a lot to achieve this goal.
Why were there no official Latte Art competitions in North America?
SCAA used to focus on U.S. Barista and U.S. Brewers Cup championships. There was a Latte Art competition that involved mainly local and regional baristas, with direct elimination contests; the winners then passed to the next competition heat. A substantial contribution in highlighting the importance of these competitions was certainly given by the event that SCAA contributed to create and that took place last April in Boston – the Specialty Coffee Event of the Year: a well-scheduled event that could actually prove the validity of this discipline, which is now in the spotlight thanks to the first U.S. Latte Art Championship, scheduled on April 24-27 in Seattle. Dalla Corte North America had a key role in raising the awareness of WCE and SCAA, as well as of the baristas’ community about the importance of Latte Art and the professionalism it involves. A success that made Dalla Corte’s brand and the quality of its machines stand out. We will be present at all the competitions selecting the Seattle finalists.
Do you promote other initiatives as well?
Of course. We think it’s extremely important to create a direct connection with baristas, to talk to them, exchange our professionalism, knowledge, skills and passion for the world of coffee. This is why we are partners and sponsors of the Roasters Guild of America (SCAA’s association of specialty coffee roasters) and of the Barista Guild of America (association of professional baristas).
What do American baristas appreciate most of Dalla Corte machines?
Four points of strength stand out: thermal stability, the great effectiveness in creating a perfect milk foam, energy efficiency and ease of maintenance. The quality of machines and the positive receptions they get by baristas are important sales boosters – that is why in 2013 Dalla Corte recorded a remarkable increase in sales.
Finally, we asked our friends to tell us briefly about their experience. Skip Finley has been working in the coffee market for over 22 years and knows every single step of the production chain perfectly well; he is member of the SCAA board of directors and president of SCAA Statistics and Standards Committee. He is partner and technical director of Dalla Corte Espresso Coffee System N.A., where Sevan Istanboulian works as general and logistics manager. Sevan is part of the dc coffee pros team and has been working in the sector for 18 years, so he knows every single aspect of the coffee world – from green coffee to the different extraction methods. He is among one of the earliest member of the roasters guild, was elected twice in its Executive Council and is currently serving on its Education Committee.
The elimination round includes the creation of 4 drinks in 6 minutes: two identical free-pour lattes and two identical designer lattes. This round also includes the Art Bar contest, in which competitors produce a latte of their own design utilizing free-pour techniques, and/or etching, or similar techniques.
The highest-scoring six competitors will compete in the final round. This lasts 8 minutes and includes the decoration of a free pour espresso macchiato, a free pour latte and a designer pattern latte; all decorations must be made in two identical cups. Competitors are judged according to the quality of the milk foam, the complexity of the decoration, their skillfulness in reproducing the decoration and their creativity.