The Barista Game

Baristas Kyaw Phyoe (left) & Hsu Paing (right).
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From 1st-3rd November 2018, the Myanmar Latte Art Championship were hosted by Golden Brown Coffee Co. Ltd at Myanmar Event Park, Mindama. This annual event was started from 2016 and has helped many talented baristas from Myanmar’s coffee industry to raise their craft to the next level.

Latte art is created by pouring microfoam into a shot of espresso to create patterns or pictures on the surface of the drink. The grand prizes for the competition included a top of the range Bezzera Espresso Machines as well as trophies and certificates.

Of the 25 competitors, 21-year-old Hsu Paing was named the winner and the 1st Runner Up award was given to 20-year-old Kyaw Phyo, both of whom are baristas at Café Salween, Myanmore’s Best Cafe of the Year 2018.

Myanmore sits down with two champions to find out how they made it to the finale.

Hsu Paing, 21
Winner
Myanmar Latte Art Championship 2018

At his first time participating in the annual Myanmar Latte Art Championships, Hsu Paing showcased his skills within the requirements of the competition disciplines and was crowned the winner of 2018. As a grand prize he received a Bezzera BZ16 Espresso Machine, worth $2,000.

Having entered the coffee industry three years ago, Hsu Paing has learned his in-depth knowledge of coffee blends and brewing methods through his experiences and limitless passion. His daily work routine at Café Salween allows him to practice his latte art on the cups of coffee that he serves the customers.

Four judges were in charge of selecting the winner, including the 2017 World Latte Art Champion Arnon Thitiprasert from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Hsu Paing had to create seven instant latte art designs for the judges during the event – no easy feat as he was not familiar to the coffee machine used in the competition.

After a round of group challenges, Hsu Paing’s clear talent pushed him to the finale along with six other participants. With an extra shot of luck, he was finally awarded the winning title.

“One of the main reasons behind his championship is the team work,” says Hsu Paing. “Café Salween give us an environment where we can practice the latte art together. Our latte art ability has improved significantly because we can learn from each other’s mistakes.”

Hsu Paing is now preparing to participate in the ASEAN Latte Art Championship in mid-2019 in Thailand.

Kyaw Phyo, 20
1st Runner Up
Myanmar Latte Art Championship 2018

Having been dedicated to latte art for some time, Kyaw Phyo had dreamt of taking part in the Myanmar Latte Art Championships. Being another team member from Café Salween, Kyaw Phyo used his four-year experiences in the competition against his rivals including his co-worker and best friend, Hsu Paing.

Though this was not his first competition, Kyaw Phyo confesses that his nerves don’t ever go away saying “I still get these goosebumps and anxiety whenever the judges look at my cups.”

However, his impressive efforts ensured that he was also selected for the finale, facing his co-worker in competition.

Kyaw Phyo was eventually awarded 1st Runner Up in the finale and though he wasn’t the winner, he was still happy when his friend was crowned the winner.

“I’d like to thank my boss and the other co-workers in my team for the support and effort they gave us during the event,” says Kyaw Phyo. Café Salween has provided coffee beans and milk for us to practice so that we have higher chances of winning, and our team members at the café had to reschedule their attendance when we were away. So, this wouldn’t happen without their kind support,” he added.

Supported by the Café Salween team and Golden Brown Coffee Co, Ltd. on his journey during the event, Kyaw Phyo also highlighted that these events help to support baristas in Myanmar, improving their skills and making the coffee industry grow as a whole throughout the country.

Ko Ye Min, one of the managing partners of Café Salween, added, “We are very pleased that our baristas have brought home two of the three awards in Myanmar Latte Art Championship this year. They have tried very hard to improve their latte art for this competition, as well as overall coffee quality for the customers. They have been with us since the very beginning of our café. We share the same vision with our baristas, which is to bring quality third-wave coffee experience to Myanmar. In recent years, even though Myanmar coffee scene has been growing rapidly, we still have our work cut out for us to catch up with the coffee scene from the region. We are glad to see industry players like Golden Brown putting significant effort in bringing Myanmar coffee scene to the regional level.”

Enjoy a cup of coffee with a unique latte art design created by award-winning baristas at Café Salween.

Café Salween
Address: G15, Urban Asia Center, Maha Bandula Road, Yangon 11161
Phone: 09 42583 0657
Opening Hours: 8am-8pm

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