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Sharing a Latte Love

We bring some of the finest food and drink in the world to our customers; it’s built into our DNA. What makes our business so special is the skill and talent of those who work with the products to give our customers amazing experiences.

In March, Aivaras took part in the Speciality Coffee Association of Lithuania Latte Art competition, taking on some of the finest Latte Artists in the Baltics and WON. If you don’t know what Latte Art is, it’s where baristas create amazing artwork in a cup of coffee with the milk foam on top of the espresso. If you want to see more of Aivaras’s work take a look at his Instagram.

We caught up with him to find out a bit more.

Aivaras, firstly Congratulations! Tell us about your win!
The Speciality Coffee Association (SCA) runs competitions all over the world; This year they have all been online for obvious reason. The one I entered was in Lithuania and was for baristas from the Baltics. 53 entrants were competing with three rounds to decide the winner. 

To progress, I needed to impress the judges but also get likes and comments from people on social media. The first round was to create something that reminded us of Flowers– I made a tulip and nearly went out of the competition! The judges thought it was a bit too simple but I got a lot of likes on social media which kept me in the running. The second round was to create something that reminded us of Birds – I made a Hummingbird which got me through the final. My final piece was a Unicorn, it wasn’t perfect but everyone seemed to like it; I’m very grateful to all of my friends and followers who supported me. 

All of the competitors were so good, I feel really happy to have won but some so many talented people could have got it; it’s a bit of luck and the opinion of the judges. 


How long have you been doing Latte Art and how did you learn it?
I started working with coffee when the Coffee Bar in Harrods opened about two and a half years ago. I had worked with coffee before but not in a professional manner, moving to The Coffee Bar helped me to pick up some tips from my colleagues, observing them every day while serving customers. The main part of my learning came from watching videos on Youtube and Instagram; there is a great community of baristas online who share their skills. I did all of my practice in-store; sadly, I don’t have a coffee machine at home! 

 

What is your favourite design?
What is great about Latte Art is that people are always coming up with new designs; a few years ago there were lots of birds and plants, now people are putting gorillas and lions in a cup! I can’t choose which I like the most as they are all part of my development.


What advice do you have for someone wanting to learn Latte Art?
Anyone can learn how to do Latte Art but you need to be patient and dedicated. Take your time to understand the fundamentals; you have to know about the coffee you’re working with, how much milk to use and how to use the steam right. It takes a lot of practice but the results are worth it. Don’t rush from a basic design to a complex one too quickly, get the basics right and keep working on it to improve.


Tell us about your career at Harrods?
I’ve been with Harrods for over 9 years and have done lots of different roles; I’ve worked in the kitchens, different restaurants and finally to the Coffee Bar. I’ve always really enjoyed my time with Harrods but knew that I wanted to be working with customers; having the chance to interact with different people every day and put smiles on peoples’ faces. It took me a while to get the barista job, the first time I didn’t get it and I had to start with a waiter position instead. For anyone wanting to work at Harrods, my advice is to work hard and never give up; if you put your all into something you achieve anything you want to. 


What is it like to work at Harrods?
I’ve always felt like I can be myself at Harrods; it has become like a second home. Every team I have worked in has been really kind and the support is always there; I feel safe, cared for and respected. 

You get a unique opportunity to work with the best products and real-life experts in a beautiful store. I like to give my customers a great experience, I study who I’m serving and create something special for them. When I make someone happier, that warms my heart. For example; if there is a couple, I’ll make them both a swan and make the swans from a different angle, so when you present the coffee it will look like swans are about to kiss. If I see someone who looks sad I’ll make some flowers or a heart. It’s a small thing but you can see how much of a positive effect it can have on someone's day.

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