Specialty coffee is growing in Korea like nowhere else, and at the top of the game is the beloved SoCal company, Klatch Coffee, which recently opened its first coffeehouse in Seoul.
Working with La Marzocco’s Korea branch, Klatch Korea hosted a totally awesome Latte Art Throwdown to kick off the start of the Cafe Show in Seoul, which took place in mid-November. On hand to judge the contest were World Barista Champion Pete Licata, Klatch founder Mike Perry, and La Marzocco Korea’s head honcho, Mira Song.
(I was supposed to attend the throw down! But my flight got in late from San Francisco and I didn’t make it. Luckily, Holly shared some great photos from the event.)
“We had 16 competitors and a lot of people that came just to see the pours and enjoy the evening,” says Holly. “The judges were myself, Mike, Pete, Mira Song (of La Marzocco Korea), and Lorenzo from La Marzocco’s head office. Each round had different rules to keep the competition spontaneous and fun!”
For round one, competitors had to draw for what design they were going to pour. The options were heart, rosetta, 3 tier tulip, 5 tier tulip, or baristas choice.
For round two, baristas had to draw for the design AND the cup! Options were the same designs as round one; cup options included a 10-ounce latte cup, a five-ounce capp cup, a six-ounce square glass, a six-ounce bubble tulip shaped glass, and baristas choice.
For round three, baristas could choose their design and cup. “Interestingly, all of the competitors chose the 10-ounce latte cups and poured crazy intricate designs!” Holly reports.
Four competitors made it to the final round, and were allowed to choose the cup and design of their choice. “What made this throwdown awesome was that these baristas wanted to challenge themselves,” says Holly. “The final four all decided to use a demitasse Once again we saw amazing pours and you never would have guessed they had used demitasse cups.”
Sarah Allen (she/her) is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.