Six years ago, a young law student called Christopher Abrahams decided to answer his calling and accept a job offer at Ciro Full Service Beverage Company. His passion for all things coffee – Latte art in particular – has led him to compete in regional and national coffee competitions and, this year, he was crowned the South African Latte Art Champion.
Latte art competitions are tough but, over and above the bragging rights, this title means a lot to Christopher, as he is now practising in Brazil for the upcoming Brazil World Coffee Championships, held in Belo Horizonte during International Coffee Week, from 7-9 November.
“My passion for Latte art all began from the first day I was exposed to it. It truly caused a rush of excitement within me,” says Christopher. “It has always been a dream of mine to reach this point, as part of my journey in the coffee industry.”
Christopher joins national coffee champions from more than 40 countries in Brazil. Over one hundred competitors will all vie for the top spot in the World Latte Championship, which celebrates artistry with espresso and milk. It runs alongside three other coffee competitions: The World Brewers Cup (the premier event for manual coffee brewing); the World Coffee in Good Spirits Championship, which recognises the combination of coffee and alcohol; and the World Cup Tasters Championship, which pits coffee cuppers against each other in lightning-fast rounds.
“The World Coffee Championships bring together a community of passionate coffee people from across the globe, gathering to compete as equals and show the world what the heights of coffee professionalism can be. It is exciting to be able to bring this community to Brazil with International Coffee Week,” World Coffee Events said in a press statement.
At Christopher’s event – the World Latte Art Championship – baristas focus on artistic expression in milk drinks. They begin by producing a single creative latte pattern at the Art Bar, before moving to the main stage to create two identical free pours, and two identical designer lattes.
Scores from both stages are combined to reveal the top 12 semi-finalists, who will create two matching sets of different free-pour latte patterns, and one matching set of free-pour macchiatos. The top six competitors qualify for the final round, where they make two different matching sets of free-pour latte patterns, and one matching set of designer lattes.
If this sounds rather daunting, then you’ve hit the nail on the head. “I’ve been experiencing a world of excitement, along with a great level of stress, as I’d like to do everything I can, to do well,” Christopher explains. “My personal challenge would be to stop shaking while pouring Latte art on stage. I have been working on quite a few techniques, in the hope that I will finally be able to overcome this.”
Practice makes perfect and, leading up to the big day, Christopher has been pouring daily and on weekends, spending his time in Ciro Coffee Academy’s training facility. Abandoning his sketchbook, after concluding that translating what’s on paper to what gets poured into the cup isn’t easy, Christopher has since explored a wide range of pouring techniques.
“I have recently been lucky enough to create most of my designs and look forward to presenting them to the world,” he smiles.
We are wishing Christopher all the best in Brazil!