Baristas challenged to create the best latte art at second Golden Bean contest, this year hosted at Dom’s Coffee

The Golden Bean, the second annual competition for the best latte art in the Hartford area, will take place Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Dom’s Coffee, 20 W. Main St. in Avon.

Last year, Holden Morgan, a barista at Dom’s, won the Golden Bean title, defeating 15 competitors at the inaugural event at Middletown’s Story & Soil.

The trophy, which features a hollow base filled with coffee beans and a gold-painted giant coffee bean perched on top, will be displayed for one year at the winner’s shop. That shop will host the contest the following year.

“We’re hoping to win again and keep the trophy here,” Morgan, 24, of Bristol, says.

Juan Valentin, a former barista at Story & Soil, conceptualised and designed the Golden Bean contest and trophy. Valentin reports that latte art competitions are popular among coffee shop employees.

“That was more of a gathering of baristas,” he explains. “The contest now formalises it, provides a vehicle for it to continue as a series, and adds an element of spectacle.”

Valentin will be absent from this year’s Golden Bean competition due to his relocation to Puerto Rico to open his own shop.

Andrew Plankis, who co-owns Dom’s with his wife, Asta Plankiene, has all Dom’s baristas train with New York’s Piyapat “Flook” Lapteerawut, a nationally recognised latte artist.

“To me, this is a sign of superiority. Customers appreciate it when you go above and beyond simply pouring it and handing it over,” Plankis says. “When they see the latte, they know it will be a high-quality beverage.”

Baristas at Dom’s learn how to make hearts, rosettas, and tulips with nothing more than a small pitcher of hot milk. Morgan says that manipulating the image with a toothpick is frowned upon in the world of latte art.

While Dom’s offers a variety of milk options for coffee and tea, Morgan believes the best art is created with steamed whole milk.

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