What It Takes To Become A World Latte Art Champion

What could possibly brighten your day more than taking a trip to your favorite café, placing your go-to order, and hearing them call your name? Sounds like the highlight of any given weekday. But, the cherry on top that sets this scenario over the edge is the moment when the barista hands over your piping hot latte, and you look down to realize you've gotten more than you expected: art. Looking at the froth in your cup, you find a heart, tulip, swan, or even a sweet message spelled out in matcha dust, should Cha Cha Matcha be your vice. Suddenly, your day has been made, and whatever dollar amount you spent is now easily worth it.

While that may have been a dramatic and slightly exaggerated account of how it feels to find latte art in your cup, it really shouldn't be. Baristas train for months and even years to develop the skills necessary to create the designs you slurp down with your latte each day (per Perfect Daily Grind). It's a form of art that passionate baristas around the world seek to master — possibly with the hopes of being able to compete for and be crowned the World Latte Art Champion.

The World Latte Art Championship

Every year, World Coffee Event competitions are held in countries around the globe. At the end of every competition year, a winner is chosen from each to participate in the World Latte Art Championship (WLAC), according to the 2022 WLAC Rules and Regulations. Once there, the baristas get to showcase their creativity through three rounds of competition. In the preliminary round, the baristas get five minutes to prepare before they're asked to produce a single designer latte, a matching set of designer lattes, and another matching pair of free-pour lattes (via World Latte Art). Once the judges combine each barista's score, only 12 can move on to the next round of the competition. From there, things only get more challenging. 

In the semi-final round, the remaining 12 baristas are given nine minutes to craft and serve two matching free-pour lattes and another two free-pour macchiatos (via WLAC). Photographers take pictures of their designs while they're fresh, and a panel of four judges scores each based on the barista's technical skills, performance, and the visual impression of their designs. The top six scoring competitors then move on to the final round, where they'll be given another nine minutes to craft three sets of matching drinks: two sets of matching free-pour lattes and a pair of matching designer lattes. Using the same scoring methods as the previous rounds, the WLAC judges rank the final six contestants, and the world's best barista is announced.