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Her Coffee series: Jammin da House with latte art

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Have you ever been at a restaurant and ordered food simply because you saw someone else having it and it looked particularly appetising? I know I have –’I’ll have what they’re having!’ is a phrase which is definitely not foreign to Tess Parisotto. Food presentation is something that is absolutely paramount when it comes to an enjoyable dining experience, because how something looks almost pre-determines how we think it might taste. And it’s not just food I’m talking about. It’s also one of the main driving factors behind the practice of latte art. Tess caught up with Jordan Frend, winner of the previous local latte art competition Jammin da House, to see what all the fuss is about when it comes to pouring pretty pictures in our coffee.

“Half of the eating, is with your eyes,” says Jordan, which is why it’s so important to create something which looks just as good as it tastes.

“When it comes to latte art, the goal is to create an industry which is consistent with pouring good tasting coffee that looks equally as good.”

There are endless types of latte art and patterns. Some of the most common and basic designs are the Rosetta, the heart and the tulip. Then you’ve get more complicated with designs like the swan or phoenix.

The Swan

Unless it’s extremely defined and clear, it can be hard to decipher the design…Um…a phoenix? Or maybe a swan?

 

Creating good latte art is not an easy task though. You’ve got to have a steady hand, attention to detail and a whole lot of concentration. You’ve to get to know your product as well—how the milk is going to froth and how it’s going to react with the coffee once you start pouring so you can produce a viable pattern or design.

Technically, latte art can be defined as the separation between the white milk and the coffee crème’, ergo good latte art should look extremely defined and clear. So it’s definitely a skill that takes a lot of patience and practice—something Jordan became very familiar with in the lead up to the last Jammin da House competition.

“I’d been playing around with latte art for a while, but only really started practicing it seriously about six months before the competitions,” Jordan says. “I had a lot of help from Seng [Sanoubane] who is the current ACT latte art champion.”

“I had never competed in something like [Jammin’ da House] before and never expected to even get through the first round. It was very nerve racking because you always have a camera on you. I was sweating bullets.”

Jordan competed against 31 other contestants and after two hours of fierce competition, he took out the top spot—not bad for someone with six months experience!

 

The competition itself is made up of three rounds and contestants are split up into different heats. The first round contestants are required to pour basic latte art designs, like a Rosetta or hearts. The second and third rounds are free-pour rounds, so contestants can pour any design they like to really show off their abilities. At the end of each round there is an elimination and only the best designs move forward in the competition. Competitors are judged on clarity and definition, symmetry, and originality of designs during the free-pour rounds.

Although Jammin da House has seen some pretty serious competitors, the competition itself is intended to produce more than just amazing latte art. Jammin da House is an ONA Coffee initiative, hosted by Espresso Room, which was created to raise funds for Project Origin. The 13th Jammin da House competition is fast approaching on Friday 12 December and will be held at Westfield Belconnen. All proceeds from the upcoming Jammin da House competition will be donated to schools in Rwanda through Project Origin as a way to give back to the community. There will be drinks and nibbles on the night, as well as some auctions mid-way through the evening to help raise money.

“We’re hoping to raise upwards of $5,000,” says Jordan.

If you’re thinking about competing, just email Jordan at jpfwps@gmail.com. Anyone can enter the competition—you don’t have to have any experience—but there are only 32 spots available, and with less than two weeks until competition day it’s best to get in quick! Event organisers are also keen for a few more sponsors, so if you’d like to express interest in donating or sponsoring email Michael Rose at michaelrose@netspeed.com.au.

Hope to see you all there—may the best barista win!

The essentials 

What: Jammin’ da House latte art competition

Where: Westfield Belconnen, Benjamin Way Belconnen

When: 6pm, Friday 12 December

Web: Find Jammin da House details on Facebook and read all about the rules here.

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