WITH the rise of café culture in Malaysia, cafes are outdoing each other in terms of scale, décor, and menus in such weird and wonderful ways, it’s hard to keep track.
Ultimately, however, it all boils down to how good the coffee is. And Barista Guild Asia (BGA) wants to teach the five R.AGE Food Fight finalists how to make a perfect cuppa.
But first, an introduction. BGA is the leading coffee school and barista academy in Malaysia. Even more impressive, it is the only fully-fledged coffee school that represents the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe.
BGA founder and academic director Daniel Liew is currently one of very few globally Authorized SCAE Trainers and Certifiers.
Good coffee is the heart of any great café, he said. In fact, it is the absolute minimum requirement for a café.
“However, there are still many cafes serving bad coffee but doing well,” Liew said. “Most of the time, it’s because of their food or pastries.”
Another thing Liew talked about was latte art. A lot more hard work goes into those Instagrammable cups of coffee than we think.
The common misconception about latte art, he said, is that it’s easy. A lot of time goes in to developing the skill and ability to produce even the simplest latte art.
“There is also a misconception that all cafés can produce good latte art,” he continued. “That’s not true. Some cafes that have great coffee don’t focus on latte art and not all coffees with great latte art taste good.”
According to Liew, a good cup is well balanced and perfectly extracted, preferably using fresh coffee beans that have been roasted well, or specialty beans that have been selected for their quality and flavour.
The hardest things to master, in his opinion, is keeping the consistency in quality and understanding beans.
To do that, Liew recommends café owners improve their baristas’ skills.
“Learn more about coffee and its characteristics. Work with roasters to bring out the best flavours in coffee. It’s a never-ending process,” he said.
The five R.AGE Food Fight finalists will get to do just that with a Latte Art For Beginners workshop by BGA, where they will learn the basics of espresso extraction, milk frothing and how to make latte art designs like hearts and rosettas.
On top of that, the R.AGE Food Fight grand prize winner will also get a Professional Barista Training (SCAE) Level Foundation and Intermediate Course, worth RM2,800.
The R.AGE Food Fight is our search for Malaysia’s next food celebrity, who will win RM10,000, a food column in The Star, and a video series on R.AGE.
To join, all you have to do is send us a video of yourself preparing a dish using palm oil, and a blogpost to complement the video.
Find out more about the R.AGE Food Fight at rage.com.my/foodfight.