• ST ALi Latte Art Master Class, and Giveaway!

In Melbourne, we love our coffee.  So much so that we have been labelled the coffee capital. It was this reputation that enticed Shinsaku Fukayama. He was a champion snowboarder as a child, then worked as a chef in Japan, the he decided to become a barista. The next logical step? Google who makes the best coffee and immigrate.

He knocked on the door of ST ALi, with no coffee skill and no English. Five months later he was waving a steam wand, and now he is the Australian Latte Art Champion.

Shin says that his work as a chef helps him as a barista. As a chef in Japan, he had to fine tune his palate. In his work at St Ali, he has to constantly taste the coffee to ensure it lives up to his world class standards.

“Snowboarding helped too,” he said. “I learnt how to prepare for competition.”

At latte art competitions, the barista must make six identical coffees to place in front for six judges. Alongside the panel, there are thousands watching.  Some might find this nerve-racking, but watching Shin steam and spin the milk, his aura is a pervading one of calmness.

Latte Art Champion, Shinsaku Fukayama, calmly creating a masterpiece.

We had been invited for a master class, run by Lonely Planet for their new book, Global Coffee Tour. After noticing that the Thorn Tree Forum had over ten thousands posts about coffee (more than beer and wine combined), they decided to write a book about it.  The result is a jam packed portafilter of cafes city by city, with tasting notes, highlights and nearby activities and sights.

I love coffee. I admire the art of it, I have my favourite haunts and baristas making it. But it is impossible to fully appreciate the art of coffee until one has given it a go themselves.

There are many things to take into account. The spin and steam of the milk. It needs to froth, but not too much. The heat of the milk. The height from which you pour. The angle of the coffee cup as you pour it. The speed of the pour. And of course, the motion and patterns. It is important to have a pattern that is a balance of mixing and milk detail – this is for the taste. If there is not enough mixing it will taste too milky.

Before a championship, Shin will practise for hours with pepper and water, to get the pattern just right. It then becomes muscle memory.

These are Shin’s beautiful swan and ferns.

This is my attempt (see the marbled one at the bottom).

Shin is now offering Coffee Art Master Classes at St Ali. If you have ever wanted to learn the art that makes our city famous, I would definitely recommend his workshops. I really learnt a lot - despite needing even more practice. And if you love coffee, and travel, then Lonely Planet's Global Coffee Tour is sure to  provide inspiration.

Win 1 of 5 double passes to a Latte Art Masterclass

In celebration of their new book, Global Coffee Tour, Lonely Planet are giving away five double passes to an exclusive latte art masterclass at one of the book’s featured roasteries — ST. ALi. Learn from the master, Shinsaku Fukayama, himself.

Date: Saturday 13 October 2018
Time: 10:00 - 11:00AM
Venue: ST. ALi, 12-18 Yarra Pl,
South Melbourne VIC

Entries close 26 September 2018. If you miss out, you can always book a session with Shin at ST ALi.

Lonely Planet' Global Coffee Tour
"Inside this definitive guide to coffee tasting around the world, you'll discover exactly where to go and what to try, plus illustrated spreads on roasting coffee, cocktails, brewing techniques..."
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12-18 Yarra Place
South Melbourne VIC 3205
03 9686 2990

St Ali Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato