Tag Archives: ting

The REAL Latte Art Challenge

When I first heard that Nestlé is sponsoring the latte art competition, I was already wondering what magic new espresso machine they are going to pull out of their hat this time. Yes, Nestlé, as in Nespresso infamy. Someone actually leaked (untruthfully) that it was going to be a Nespresso machine that was going to do the espresso base for the cappuccinos. I smsed the rest of the CGSG group, only to have CGSG Founder Kai Seng reply with “They should up the ante and use Nestlé milk powder.”

Yesterday, as the Latte Art Comp preceded the main Barista Competition, it was finally revealed to us what the magic machine was. I regret I do not have any photos here. (I shall take some later today.) You know the kind of Milo/Teh Tarik/Black Coffee/Hot Chocolate dispensers they have littering just about any ubiquitous kopitiam/hospital/waiting area? Yes, that all-in-one dispenser was making the espresso, sorry, black coffee for the capp base. They had a briefing on the stage where the 2 dispensers were proudly displayed, its innards being revealed to all in amazement. The insides looked like the insides of your CMYK inkjet printer. They have neat cartridges for black coffee premix, milo premix, teh tarik premix, etc. I was thinking someone would just be out there to make a cost effective Continuous Ink Beverage Supply System for this dispenser. But, at the same time, Steve and I were thinking of the problems the competitors are going to face trying to make latte art with this coffee.

This dispenser comes without PID, without all the wonderful technology most people take for granted when working with a budget toy like a $50 Krups or Braun, without the consistency to put out even an un-espresso nespresso. This is the equivalence of a 2 in one coffee mix that comes 30 packs in a bag at your nearest supermarket. It makes sweet black coffee topped with big bubbly foam. Now, this is what I call a REAL LATTE ART CHALLENGE. Ever since their first Barista Challenge in 2009, CuppaChoice always had the creativity of doing something out of the norm with the rest of the crowd. Their 1st Barista Challenge had the blind latte art challenge where competitors had to pour latte art without looking at the cup. This, of course, produced hilarious results with half the competitors burning their hands with hot milk.

You just have to think out of the box for this one. A few competitors thought of stamping out the foam by knocking the cup against the tabletop, the same way you would when faced with bubbles in your micro-foamed milk. But, for some, the bubbly foam coffee was still inpenetrable by the micro-foamed milk. This is coupled with the fact that even if the milk found a way to penetrate the coffee foam, it still had the thick coffee foam to restrict the flow of milk on top to draw your latte art. To the untutored eye, it would seem these competitors just do not have the skill to put out nice latte art. However, much to the surprise of many, the few and the proud still found a way to make really nice 5 hearted tulips, rosettas, and the like. Of course, it didn’t help the matter much as the judges were 2 time Singapore National Barista Champion John Ryan Ting and SNBC 2010 #3 Suhaimie Sukiman, both of whom came in #2 and #3 in both this year’s SNBC and its companion Latte Art Competition. #1 was happily vacationing in some Indonesian island and wasn’t available to do the judging.

Here are the finalists:

  • Nizam (Jolly Frog)
  • Fadzli (Jones the Grocer)
  • Terrence (30 mls)
  • Sham (CuppaChoice)
  • Fadhly (CuppaChoice)

Here’s one blog post that came to my mind when I was watching the latte art challenge unfold. Since the coffee foam was hard to work with, it would be great if you could spoon off the coffee foam, leaving just the black coffee. Then you would, as illustrated in James Hoffman’s answer to the readers who mentioned that latte art would be difficult without crema, be able to easier draw your latte art in black coffee.

This is a screenshot from James’ site. Clicking on it wouldn’t produce the video. You have to go to the link above and view the entire video. :)

MITR PHOL Barista Challenge 2010

[This post has been updated with correct dates and times as of 3 June 2010]

CUPPACHOICE INTERNATIONAL PTE LTD has been given the honour and responsibility to organise and run a Barista Challenge on behalf of MITR PHOL THAILAND and MAXWILL (ASIA) PTE LTD, in conjunction with MITR PHOL SUGAR Trade Show 2010.

The Trade Show will be held from the 4th to 6th June and the Barista Challenge will be the main focus from the 5th and finals on the 6th of June on the 4th June from 11 am to 7 pm and on the 5th June from 11 am to 7 pm.

The main event is MITR PHOL BARISTA CHALLENGE and the side event, MITR PHOL LATTE ART THROWDOWN.

Come join us in this carnival, after all, it is also the GREAT SINGAPORE SALE and there is no better place to be than in Orchard Road.

MITR PHOL BARISTA CHALLENGE 2010 (in running order)

1. Jackie (Jolly Frog Bistro Bar)

2. Terence (Boomarang Express)

3. Noribsham (Cuppachoice Café & Academy)

4. Natasha (1 Caramel Café)

5. Mustaffa (1 Caramel Café)

6. Fadhly (Cuppachoice Café & Academy)

7. Jason (Starbucks Coffee)

8. Cessna (Café Cartel)

9. Arfian (30 Mls Coffee Bar)

10. Nizam (30 Mls Coffee Bar)

11. Andy (Starbucks Coffee)

12. Main Pavan (Jones The Grocer)

NESTLE LATTE ART CHALLENGE

1. Arfian (30 Mls Coffee Bar)

2. Alif (Jones The Grocer)

3. Fadzli (Jones The Grocer)

4. Noribsham (CuppaChoice Café & Academy)

5. Art (Jones The Grocer)

6. Terence (Boomarang Express)

7. Fadhly (Cuppachoice Café & Academy)

8. Jackie (Jolly Frog Bistro Bar)

9. Andy (Starbucks Coffee)

10. Nizam (30 Mls Coffee Bar)

11. Jason (Starbucks Coffee)

12. Cessna (Café Cartel)

13. Han Bing (Café Cartel)

[excerpted from Facebook]

—————————————————————————

PANEL OF JUDGES

The judges have been announced to be the following:

Alex Chong- Sensory Judge (Master Roaster & MD of CuppaChoice)

Colin Loh – Sensory Judge (CGSG Founding Member, espresso.colinloh.com)

Adrian Toh – Sensory Judge (Nestle Professional Representative)

Zaccheus Leck – Sensory Judge (Maxwill Representative Coffee Lover)

Steve Cairns – Technical Judge (CGSG Founding Member)

Cheryl Lee – Technical Judge (2 time Malaysia Barista Champion)

John Ting – Latte Art Judge (Singapore National Barista Champion 2008,2009, WBC 2009 Ranked #21, Barista@Oriole Cafe)

Competition Blend

The blend used for the competition is a 60% Kenya AA / 40% Ethiopia Sidamo roasted by CuppaChoice to Mid-Dark.

Personal Notes:

I went to scout the location today. While my previous post mentioned that the barista challenge was to be held at Takashimaya, it is in actual fact being held at the outdoors Civic Plaza. The area allocated for the MITR PHOL Barista Challenge is super-huge, as compared to the area we are so used to during the Singapore National Barista Championships. The SNBC 2010 area was about one-tenth the size of MITR PHOL BC. The stage area is just behind the fountain at Ngee Ann City. I hope to update this blog post with photos tomorrow.

Video – SNBC Day 2 – John Ting

Here’s a video of John’s performance at this year’s SNBC. Having participated in SNBC every year since 2007, John has been placed Runner Up in 2007, and Champion in 2008 and 2009. His latest WBC 2009 rank representing Singapore is #21.

[xr_video id=”5e4fecb120e545b4916d8b028a2b39e5″ size=”sm”]

SNBC Day 2

Today, I came prepared, with my naked portafilter, a digital thermometer crippled from my Eric Svendson’s setup from home, and my Espro tamper.

While attention was focused on the latte art competition on the floor, I stole away to try my stint at the Rancilio Classe 6 unit at the door. A few points in summary:

My Rancilio naked portafilter locks in at 6 o clock

The Ditting-Mahlkoenig clumps to high heaven because of the lack of a doser to help in some unclumping. I had to use the digital thermometer to unclump the grounds in order to perfect my pour. I had spritzing in most my pours no thanks to the doserless grinder.

The Rancilio Classe 6 rapidly loses heat in the grouphead. I read initial temps of 205, and then it steadily decreases to a range between 165 and 175 degrees 20 seconds in. I’m sure past competitors would miss the PID’d temperature stability and machine build of previous SNBC sponsor who brought in La Marzocco. Even Nuova Simonelli had their WBC machines specially customized with a PID to ensure temperature stability.

The Spinelli roast worked very well with the Rancilios. I managed to test out one pour at the competition machine with the Boncafe roast, intended for the latte art comp, and it tasted inferior to the Spinelli roast. I would think Ross had tailored the roasts to suit his machines. Despite the temperature instability and the clumping, Spinelli pours from the Rancilio were all within a good degree of tolerance in body, flavour and acidity. Point in note, if all else fails in this year’s SNBC, be sure to use Spinelli roast. I’m sure it’ll taste quite fine to please the judges’ palates.

Updated with new photos:

WBC 2009 Atlanta: John Jhi Chiang Ting Singapore

Coupled with the bad internet connection, I could only catch every other frame during John’s routine. The emcee is James Hoffmann, WBC 2007 Champion, now at  Square Mile Roasters.  Anyway, here are whatever pictures I could take during the event. As John says in his routine, “Please enjoy…”

John pours latte art in front of judges.

The familiar “tap tap tap”, dosing coffee grounds into the portafilter

John pours water for the technical judges.

John explains his signature drink, “Summer Blossom”.

John calls “Time,” signaling the end of his performance and is being
interviewed by James Hoffmann.

John thanks everyone for their support, especially the ones cooped
up in Singapore, watching his performance at an ungodly hour.


James Hoffmann.

Judging WBC Judges

During the break before the awards ceremony of SNBC 2009, there was a friendly competition between Eleen Cai (SNBC 2007 Champion) and John Ting (SNBC 2008 Champion). It was a competition to make as many cappas as you can in 10 minutes. The highlight of the event was uh, someone volunteered me to be the 8th guest judge. All guest judges were chosen from the audience. The WBC judges took turns mucking up Ting’s grind and dosing. It was quite understandable he fell 2 drinks short from Eleen. Eleen finished with 12 while John made 10 cappas. The MC asked for my opinion on Eleen’s to which I replied,  “What I’m looking for is the taste of the coffee cutting into the milk. Eleen’s cappa didn’t do that, because all you taste is milk.” When I tasted John’s, he was the clear winner.

Lo and Behold! Guess what cropped up next? It was a competition between Bosses and Students’ Cappa Contest. The Bosses were Justin Metcalf and Ross Bright. Both Bright and Metcalf ARE CERTIFIED WBC JUDGES. The students were Ting and Cai. I was called back to be the judge and I made sure I sat at the bosses’ table. Whoa! Getting served cappas by Bright AND Metcalf and then judging them will most likely be THE highlight in my career in coffee. I noted the lack of latte art in Metcalf’s drinks, to which he promptly replied that they were’nt being tested on the art. But he did make several triple rosettas later on. Here are some pictures that speak for themselves.

IMG_0590.jpg

Justin Metcalf pouring latte art while …

IMG_0575.jpg

Ross Bright foams the milk.

IMG_0596.jpg

The two WBC judges pour a few rosettas with love

After 10 minutes, both teams had made 30 cappas. The tiebreaker was latte art. And I was the latte art judge. (I am having so much fun!) I gave one point in difficulty for the Bosses and one point in artistry for the students. The Bosses won. We’ll give it to them this year.

I hope this sets the bar for future SNBC’s to come.

For more pictures on the event, go to my flickr account.

Singapore National Barista Competition 2009

I just came from SNBC 2009 Finals held at Suntec Convention Hall today. Whew! What a turnout. Sadly, I didn’t see any familiar faces from our local home roaster’s group, CGSG (Coffee Greens Singapore). Cafes that had baristas in the finals were 2 from Oriole Cafe, Ian from TCC, 1 from Spinelli’s, Danny Pang from Geek Terminal, and 1 from Jones the Grocer (Ahmad Hidayat). Sorry, I’m not familiar with the names other than those from Oriole, who are John Ting (SNBC 2008 champion) and Keith Loh (SNBC 2008 3rd, SNBC 2007 4th.) I guess it’s Fate that Keith should come in 2nd this year, huh?

Without further ado, the winners are (my predictions were spot-on this year):

SNBC 2009 Champion is John Ting. AGAIN

SNBC 2009 Runner Up is Keith Loh. Chalk this up to Fate.

SNBC 2009 2nd Runner Up goes to Ian from TCC.