Canadian Latte Art Exhibition A Huge Success

In one of the initial steps to attain official sanctioning for a spot for Canada in the World Latte Art Championship (WLAC), the country hosted the Latte Art Exhibition during the Canadian Coffee & Tea Show in Toronto on Sunday and Monday. No one would argue that the event wouldn’t have happened at all, and certainly not to the great success that it did, without the support, exposure, guidance, and organization of Dalla Corte Espresso Systems, which sponsored the event as it does latte art championships in countless countries, as well as the WLAC.

Christopher Tellez (center) was the big winner of the Canadian Latte Art Exhibition. To the left is Sevan Istanboulian of Dalla Corte, and on the right is Gary Horne of Mahlkönig.
Christopher Tellez (center) was the big winner of the Canadian Latte Art Exhibition. To the left is Sevan Istanboulian of Dalla Corte, and on the right is Gary Horne of Mahlkönig.
Skip Finley (left) of Dalla Corte reviews the rules of the Latte Art Exhibition in Toronto with competitor Gabriel.
Skip Finley (left) of Dalla Corte reviews the rules of the Latte Art Exhibition in Toronto with competitor Gabriel.

Twelve Canadian baristas turned out for the event ”pretty awesome, considering the country’s long-running barista championship had 18 competitors this year. Among the pool of latte artists were some stand outs in a range of coffee competitions, as well as some newcomers.

Two-time Canadian Barista Champion Ben Put tried his hand at latte art during the Canadian Latte Art Exhibition in Toronto.
Two-time Canadian Barista Champion Ben Put tried his hand at latte art during the Canadian Latte Art Exhibition in Toronto.

On Sunday, the 12 competitors began the day pouring at the Art Bar in order to make a single drink with which they were satisfied that could be photographed. Photos from the six baristas who would go on to the finals were used in that round (more below). In the second half of the day on Sunday, baristas went head to head pouring macchiatos, free-pour lattes, and designer lattes. Judges ”Sarah Allen from Barista Magazine, and Julia Barber from Reg Barber Enterprises ”selected the winning drinks, which determined which six baristas would move on to the next round.

Pours from the first day's Art Bar round.
Pours from the first day’s Art Bar round.

The finals of this inaugural event commenced at noon on Monday, with each of the six competitors tasked with creating two identical macchiatos, free-pour lattes, and designer lattes, all in the space of 8 minutes. The designer lattes were compared not only to each other, but to the photo snapped on Sunday morning. Judges for this round were Randy Hogg, Nicholas Ladouceur, Chris Clifford, and Sarah Allen. Alexis Hide of Dalla Corte was the emcee.

Bruce Ly, a veteran latte art competitor at the Coffee Fest competitions in the United States, wowed judges in the final round. He ended up placing second.
Bruce Ly, a veteran latte art competitor at the Coffee Fest competitions in the United States, wowed judges in the final round. He ended up placing second.

The WLAC official rules are complicated, and while many of the competitors were not familiar with them, the level of professionalism within this group found all six of them handling the complexities with ease and excelling in the competition. It was truly an impressive group.

Gary Horne (left) of Mahlkönig, a generous sponsor of the Latte Art Exhibition, and Sevan Istanboulian, who oversaw and sponsored the whole event from Dalla Corte Canada, told the audience how important the competition was to specialty coffee in Canada, during the awards ceremony.
Gary Horne (left) of Mahlkönig, a generous sponsor of the Latte Art Exhibition, and Sevan Istanboulian, who oversaw and sponsored the whole event from Dalla Corte Canada, told the audience how important the competition was to specialty coffee in Canada, during the awards ceremony.

Dalla Corte is the official espresso machine sponsor of the World Latte Art Championship, as well as the World Coffee In Good Spirits Championship. As such, Dalla Corte endeavors to support and contribute to all national championships for these two global events. In Canada, Sevan Istanbulian of Dalla Corte, Mystique Coffee Roasters, and Toi & Moi Cafe, along with Dalla Corte’s Skip Finley in the American office, worked tirelessly to organize and produce this spectacular event.

The $5,000+ prize package included a Dalla Corte Mini, a Mahlkönig grinder, and loads of other goodies.
The $5,000+ prize package included a Dalla Corte Mini, a Mahlkönig grinder, and loads of other goodies.

Besides bragging rights, the winner of the competition, Christopher Tellez, won a complete home espresso system including a Dalla Corte Mini, a Mahlkönig grinder, a Reg Barber tamper, a subscription to Barista Magazine, and more. The prize package was worth more than $5,000.

Veteran barista competitor Cole placed third in the Canadian Latte Art Exhibition.
Veteran barista competitor Cole placed third in the Canadian Latte Art Exhibition.

Our fingers are crossed that the first sanctioned Canadian Latte Art Championship will take place just as beautifully in 2015, and will send its winner on to represent Canada for the first time at the World Latte Art Championship. Stay tuned for news on this as it breaks.

Sua poured during the Art Bar round. She went on to place fourth in the championship.
Sua poured during the Art Bar round. She went on to place fourth in the championship.
A good sized crowd stuck around the Canadian Latte Art Exhibition throughout the Canadian Coffee and Tea Show -- it was exciting!
A good sized crowd stuck around the Canadian Latte Art Exhibition throughout the Canadian Coffee and Tea Show — it was exciting!
Finalists! From left, Chris, Bruce, Amanda, Cole, and Sua.
Finalists! From left, Chris, Bruce, Amanda, Cole, and Sua.
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