Astoria has been named the official sponsor of the 2016 World Latte Art Championship (WLAC) and World Coffee in Good Spirits (WCIGS) Championship finals. The competitions will take place at Hotelex trade fair in Shanghai, China from 29 March to 1 April. Announced on 2 February, both competition finals will feature the Astoria Plus4Champions as the official machine. This is the competitive version of the Astoria Plus4You TS model, which boasts a series of features specifically developed to support the baristas in making latte art and coffee drinks. For the 2016 events, Astoria will pay tribute to Chinese culture in the design of Plus4Champions. Twelve custom coffee machines will feature illustrations that recall some of the keystones of China’s history and culture. “With the [WLAC] finals in Gothenburg, 2015 was an important year for the development of our machine and the affirmation of our brand,” said Head of Astoria’s Business Sector Stefano Stecca. “For Hotelex 2016 we’ve introduced further improvements, thanks to feedback, even from baristas. We also thought it would be a good idea to pay tribute to a country as fascinating as China by customising the machines and launching our social network campaign #TheCoffeeRoad, which will take us from here to Shanghai.” Twelve different artists will create the illustrations, which will include historical symbols such as The Great Wall and the Forbidden City. Images will also reflect elements from the Chinese culture such as the dragon, Sichuan Opera, and people and places that have identified the history of the country up to modern times. Some of the graphics will also represent a link between Italian and Oriental culture, including explorer Marco Polo and The Silk Road, a crucial bridge between the two cultures. This is the second year in a row Astoria has supported the WCIGS and WLAC. In 2015 its Plus4You was the official Qualified Espresso Machine Sponsor.