Ten national coffee champions gathered in Milan, Italy from 14 to 15 September in a workshop organised by Dalla Corte. For two days, national finalists in Latte Art and Coffee in Good Spirits competitions trained with 2011 World Latte Art Champion, the Greek Christos Loukakis and Sonja Björk Grant, Head Judge and SCAE Trainer. The champions were able to practice on three positions set up identical to those on the world stage, with the Dalla Corte espresso machine dc pro and the Mahlkönig grinder on demand K30 Vario. The stations were set up inside the old Dalla Corte facility. The Latte Art 2012 national champions included Anaïs Rebella (France), Chiara Bergonzi (Italy), Esther Maasdam (The Netherlands), Viktoriya Kashirtseva (Russia), François Knopes (Belgium), Miguel Lamora (Spain). The Coffee in Good Spirits 2012 national Champions included Francesco Corona (Italy), Ronny Billemon (Belgium), Stavros Lamprinidis (Greece), and Floriana Vlaicu (Romania). The champions were preparing for the World Latte Art Championship and World Coffee in Good Spirits Championship, taking place from 1- 4 November in Seoul, South Korea.
The training started with Björk Grant discussing the competitions rules. For the World Latte Art competition, this included a recent rule change where there is no longer a Latte Art test with an “unusual” container (for instance a mini-cup used for potato chips), but only with big and small cups. Furthermore, taste will once again be evaluated. For the World Coffee in Good Spirits competition, competitors will no longer have to make a recipe with surprise ingredients, and cocktails conceived by the finalists in the Preliminary Round will have to contain Grand Marnier, the competition sponsor. As part of the event Bruno – founder of the Dalla Corte company with his son Paolo – made an appearance, as did Grand Marnier ambassador Serge Sevaux. The workshop closed off with a simulation of the last round of the competition. Dalla Corte noted in a statement even in this practice setting, the pressure was notable, as a few shaky hands were seen, especially by Latte Art contestants. The DC Campus was organised by Dalla Corte together with Mahlkönig, Urnex, Alpro, and Monin, and with the cooperation of Grand Marnier, Durobor Group, d’Ancàp, Centrale del Latte of Brescia and illy.