Art Latte: Service with Style
You can get a coffee almost anywhere, but the Café Plaza Victoria puts its own artistic twist on our favorite hot beverages. ILC News interviewed one of their baristas, ” target=”_blank”>Jair Silva.
What makes your coffee different than the rest?
With Art Latte, we wanted to increase the market for coffee by giving it our own special touch. We like to prepare gourmet coffees, so all our blends are different than the regular ones you will find at most places.
I have here some Colombian beans, for example, and the most important thing about them is that they have been toasted very recently so the oils, smell and spirit of the coffee is completely intact.
I’ve been working here for three years. I used to be a chef and studied gastronomy, but I never received any formal instruction on this completely different, new art. Actually, they only teach you the basics in school, such where the coffee comes from, the main differences between coffees and about the beans themselves.
How did you get your start?
The very first barista worked right here at this coffee shop. He studied in England, and has established his own curriculum so that he can train other people to become certified baristas.
I’ve always had ties to the coffee market, since my father works with coffee. He is a Café Caribe sales representative, so my knowledge about coffee began from my father’s perspective. I used to go with him on the weekends and watch him at work, but never got involved directly.
When I finally got tired of all the stress involved with working as a chef, I reinvented myself and started to work at the coffee shop.
How do you put your own style into your coffee?
To create the perfect espresso, you must use exactly eight grams of coffee, brewing it in 20 milliliters of hot water for 15 seconds. That is the general rule for making a good cup. If you exceed that time, the coffee can burn. With less time, you cannot generate the perfect fusion.
When you prepare Art Latte coffee there are three main figures that appear almost immediately: a heart, a flower or an apple. Once you have those designs, you can start changing them around and creating new ones. For example, and make a bear from the apple.
Everything depends on the barista’s mood, so the bear can have a happy, sad, or angry face!
Then we have to prepare the milk, which is not easy since you have to prepare it in perfect conditions at an exact temperature of 65°C (148°F). Since I started working here, I’ve been able to master the technique of drawing with the milk, creating new shapes in the foam and actually improvising with different kinds of designs.