JEDDAH: Coffee lovers, investors, universities and business executives attended a specialized exhibition in Jeddah on Saturday and Sunday.
The Chocolate and Coffee exhibition also hosted the Latte Art Championship, which kicked off on Saturday with 30 competitors each making their coffee creation in 10 minutes and showcasing their best efforts to experts.
Sunday brought together the final 10 competitors, with the winner to be announced tonight.
Specialty Coffee Association head judge and certified trainer Fahad Al-Thubyani said the aim of the competition was to encourage baristas to develop their skills in the art of foaming.
“To present a beautiful cup of coffee and, at the same time, teach them not to waste milk by creating art,” he told Arab News, adding that the Culture Ministry’s decision to dubbing 2022 “the year of Saudi coffee” was good news for the sector.
“For us in the coffee market, this decision to designate this year as the Year of Saudi Coffee – the industry has been growing since 2018, and we (the coffee sector) are currently one of the biggest markets in growth in the world,” said Al-Thubyani. “The decision of the Ministry of Culture comes at the right time and we are developing in this field. We have a lot of talent and experience in this market, and we are competitive at the International scale.
Filipino visual judge Phillip Solera applauded Saudi baristas’ deep interest in coffee making.
“Now there are a lot of talented Saudi baristas and I feel they are eager to learn more and gain more knowledge about specialty coffee, and now they are good at the art of latte,” Solera told Arab News. “As a visual judge, we will see the appearance of the latte art pattern, the difficulties, the harmony, the size, the contrast of textures and colors, the overall appeal of the coffee.”
Najeeb Jiddawi, head of the expo’s media center, said the expo was aligned with the ministry’s decision to designate 2022 as the Saudi Year of Coffee.
“We were very keen to bring together investors, businessmen, exporters, manufacturers and coffee visitors,” he told Arab News. “It is about exchanging expertise, information, in addition to inviting entities in the education sector such as King Abdulaziz University and the University of Jeddah to present to them the most important elements of this industry.”
Saudi competitor Suhail Al-Badrani was the 2021 latte art winner in Medina and has been drawing with foam for three years.
He developed an interest in coffee making during lockdown.
“It started as a hobby at home, but then I branched out and got into the coffee-making business,” he told Arab News. “I developed a lot in this area and I received international accreditation, then I participated in a championship last year and won first place. I hope it will be my second time. L he Ministry of Culture’s interest in this field gave people like me the boost I needed to develop further.