This weekend I covered the 2nd annual Vancouver International Latte Art Competition aka That Barista Thing. Held at Vancouver Library Square and open to the public, this was a unique opportunity to witness a competition normally reserved for industry insiders.

Johannes van Vloten of Kafka's Coffee

Baristas competed against one another in two categories: Free Pour Latte Art and Etching Latte Art. They were allowed four minutes to create their masterpiece that was quickly brought to the judge’s table while the artwork was intact. Cash prizes ranged from $500 to $2,500 dollars, ponying up some of the largest dough for a competition of this type anywhere in the world! As well, this event attracted baristas from around the globe, including Japan.

Ale Najafzadeh and Wayne Liu

I met with Ale Najafzadeh and Wayne Liu, two Baristas who were competing against one another in the same round and from the same Blenz location in Vancouver. Even funnier, Wayne is Ale’s boss!



Here are some of the Baristas and a few of their gorgeous latte art creations that I captured during this exciting afternoon.

In addition to the competition, the public was offered free lattes, a fortune teller tea leaf reader (courtesy of Maxine Friend, Clairvoyant), and a button-making station to design a souvenir coffee-themed button.

The Judges

There were four judges on hand to judge each cup of art based on aesthetic beauty, definition, colour infusion, and degree of difficulty/creativity. Both Sammy Piccolo and Mark Prince are local coffee industry personalities, while Fiona Forbes hosts, writes, and produces Urban Rush for Shaw TV.

The Reverberators added to the fun with live music. This event was supported by Blenz Coffee, Sammy Piccolo, Coffee Geek, and Bravo Coffee Group. The event’s evident popularity will certainly lead to future That Barista Thing competitions.

By: Ariane Colenbrander