Merijn Gijsbers is the 2017 Dutch Barista Champion, 2018 Dubai International Coffee Champion and Brand Ambassador for Alpro
, the plant-based beverage company loved worldwide.
Prior to his live demonstrations at The Global Coffee Festival (he will be presenting a plant-based masterclass and will be judging the PB Masters
), we asked him about his history with coffee, his work for Alpro and his three best tips for making plant-based latte art.
Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you got into coffee?
I studied hotel management, and for my final internship I chose to gain experience abroad in the sales sector. It was during this time working for a major Italian coffee company, I came into close contact with coffee. And when I first watched the World Barista Championships with Fabio Verona, I realized that this would be my path.
You have been an Alpro Ambassador for some time. What do you like most about your role?
Meeting new people who are passionate about coffee! I also like being able to dispel pre-conceptions about plant-based drinks, explaining to people the benefits and sustainability that they can implement by drinking these products.
What are your favorites for pouring latte art?
Coconut milk is extremely stable, and although you end up with slightly thicker foam than with oat milk, it is still possible to pour very detailed latte art in even the smallest sample cups. With its fluid texture, oat milk almost automatically flows into the desired design.
Can you give us 3 tips for creating beautiful latte art with Alpro?
1. Preferably use the special Alpro For Professionals line
, as they have been created to combine well with coffee.
2. Pass steam from the wand to 40°C, then immerse it. But don’t let it go too far if you're going to create elaborate latte art. Never exceed 60/65°C for almond milk.
3. Experiment with the products. You can make latte art with all of them, but they each require a different approach. With soya for example, I wait 30 seconds before starting the pour, whereas with almond I prefer to start as soon as I finish frothing.
What is your favourite Coffee City and why?
I really like the high number of specialty coffee shops in London. I think it's fair to say that London is still the coffee-capital of Europe. I believe companies like Workshop
have done a great job in scaling up whilst continuing to offer delicious coffee at the same time.
What are your expectations for The Global Coffee Festival?
The global coffee community is a fairly small world. A lot of us know each other in person and this crisis has been hard on everyone — on a personal level, on an economic level and in all kinds of ways.
It's been truly amazing to see a lot of initiatives pop-up since the beginning of the lockdown earlier this year. You can order fantastic coffees and get them delivered to your doorstep, you can watch countless videos with valuable content to increase your brewing skills, you can share roast-profiles with one click and cup the same coffee with your international coffee friends via Facetime... but after so many months of e-meetings, webinars and online classes, I think people are starting to miss actual face to face contact and vibes of the festivals that we've always enjoyed so much in the past.
I believe everybody will understand that we'll have to endure this difficult time for a little while longer, but I'm convinced that this festival is a great opportunity to take online events to the next level and bring a bit of fun back into our lives!
See Merijn's plant-based latte art skills in action at The Global Coffee Festival on 30 October 2020. Register for your FREE ticket today!
This article originally appeared on amsterdamcoffeefestival.com.