Training like a champion

Interview with Alessandro Zengiaro, UK Latte Art Champion

During the preparations for WOC 2022, we interviewed the reigning British Latte Art champion Alessandro Zengiaro, who told us why he loves our Café Racer, how he is preparing for the competition at the end of June and what the experience in shooting video tutorials with Sanremo UK.

1. What is training like on the Cafe Racer?

It’s nice because the machine is great and because it’s the actual machine that I will have in competition. I am lucky we have one onsite at Assembly (UK Roastery n.d.r.) that I can use every day, that’s very important for getting the whole routine ready.

2. Describe your experience using the Café Racer for your pre show training.

Well it’s one of my favorite machines for different reasons. The steam is dry so you can create a nice texture with it,
it’s super easy to work with. The thing I love most about the steam wand is the layout, you can first of all move the steam wand to whatever position you want, and more importantly you have nothing around the steam wand right?

So, for my steaming style it’s perfect. I use other machines sometimes where you move your hand and you burn yourself or the steam wand and you can’t actually bend it in the way you like, so the Café Racer is great because whatever your way to steam milk is, you can do it easily. The lever is very easy to turn on/off, rather than do some weird movement.

3. Are you excited about competing on a world stage for the first time?

No… just kidding of course! 6 f*****g years I was chasing this, I am so excited. I started competing in 2016 and that was my first competition ever, so after 6 years, I finally made it and I’m super excited. It’s like a sport, I made it to the top so now I get to compete in the top league.

4. What was it like shooting the video tutorials?

It was something really outside my comfort zone, I mean even if I don’t look like it, I’m a shy person and I’ve been
a barista for so long I’m able to put a mask on and cover but, standing in front of a camera and repeating words is not easy! But, it’s good training because it’s something that I need to be able to do for my job so, in the future lots of times I will have to do something in front of people. It’s good training for competition because I have to stay in front of people with all the cameras and stuff so everything that brings you out of your comfort zone is a good thing to help you grow as a person. I’m super happy about it and it was a good result I think!

To see all the videos click here!

5. How important is training to become a champion?

It’s everything, I think it’s everything. I’ve been training
all aspects of this competition, I’ve been training my body, I’ve been training my memory, I’ve been training my mind, I’ve been training the routine for the set up, I’ve been training the routine for the competition, I’ve been training the 5 minutes pre-setup…training is everything. Especially in latte art which is creativity and repetition, so you need to come up with a great pattern or a great idea, yes, but one of the main criteria the judges use to critique your pattern is ‘how identical it is to the other’ so its repetition and training
and in my situation I knew that my weakest spot was my mind, so I’ve been going through a mental approach
to make me feel more at ease in front of judges.
Training is everything.

Alessandro just won the UK Latte Art Championship for the second time in a row! Congratulations!

Discover the latest issue of our Highlights magazine here.

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