Better latte than never - New Plymouth barista's almond milk challenge
Artists have their favourite materials to work with and barista Jordan Hales is no exception - although his go-to happens to be cow's milk.
The New Plymouth barista's nine to five is spent making intricate designs on the top of your favourite cup of joe, but when it comes to the ingredients he says almond milk is hardest to work with.
"It doesn't hold as nice, it's a lot harder to pour out of the jug and it's a lot different than using ordinary milk," Hales said.
But Hales, of Ozone Coffee Roasters in New Plymouth, had to put aside his favourite material to enter an international online competition.
He spent four hours being filmed working with the dreaded almond milk for the Almond Breeze Latte Art Video Challenge.
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Baristas from Japan, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand were allowed to take part, with the winners beingchosen through a public vote.
Hales is hoping to be crowned the best latte artist in New Zealand and also head to the Grand Finale in Australia to be crowned the global winner.
Hales, a self-proclaimed perfectionist, said the competition helped people see the art baristas create and take their passion more seriously.
"Because people walk into a cafe and see a barista they think they just stand behind a machine all day and talk to people," he said.
"They actually have a passion for coffee and are trying to strive to get better.
"I think it's cool that people can open up their minds a little bit more and see it is actually something that people take seriously."
Hales, clearly passionate about his profession, has taken three years to perfect his latte art, and hopes the New Plymouth coffee and art lovers get behind him with voting closing in six days.
"It's cool that in a little place like New Plymouth you can get the community involved," he said.
To vote, find Almond Breeze's Latte Art Video Challenge on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Youtube and 'like' the latte art you want to win.