UK Latte champion Dhan Tamang on latte art and the value of baristas
Dhan Tamang is six times UK Latte Art Champion as well being a finalist in the 2016 World Latte Art Championships. Originally from Nepal he now runs the Coffee Lab UK chain that has 11-sites across Surrey, Hampshire and Wiltshire with plans for London by 2020.
How did you get into the coffee industry and what made you want to become a coffee professional?
I started making coffee 2006 as a barista in Kuwait when there was no latte art. In 2010 I moved to the UK with my wife who was studying and worked at Gail’s Bakery in London, which is really popular now. That is where I learned about coffee, had training from Union Hand-Roasted Coffee and where I saw a different world. When I worked behind the bar people actively came and said ‘who made that latte art?’ Maybe that was why I got a job offer from an independent coffee shop in Winchester. In 2013, I got a chance to compete in my first ever competition and I won my first ever competition. Since that I have won six times.
What has been the proudest moment in your career?
The proudest moment was 2013 when I won the UK Latte Art competition. Before the competition I was a completely different person and no-one knew who I was. When they announced me as the winner that was a turning point. In 2016, I started Coffee Lab UK and we now have 11 shops, a roastery and coffee school.
What are the key challenges facing baristas and coffee shops at the moment?
As a business it is people. There are still many people working as baristas that don’t see it as a career. There is a brighter side to working as a barista and it can be like the job of a chef. There has already been a massive change since 2010 with the job of the barista being much more appreciated.
I travel to a lots of places and see different coffee cultures and the value they have in baristas. If someone is in a competition from my company, I cannot afford for that person not to to work in the shop and cannot pay them to practice and win the competition. In other countries they can do this. It is amazing.
You are showcasing at the Barista Masterclasses at European Coffee, Tea & Soft Drinks Expo. What made you want to become involved?
The goal is that I want to share my experience and what I know about coffee. I want to explain, prove and show people that are interested in coffee that there is a future. You can be anything and be champion.
- Dhan Tamang will be hosting a session at the Barista Masterclass on Tuesday, 21 May at 10.45pm.
- VA Machinery is the coffee machine and grinder sponsor of the Barista Masterclasses.
- Brita is also exhibiting on stand A15 in addition to co-sponsoring the Barista Masterclass.
- Lavazza is the official coffee sponsor for the Barista Masterclasses and will be exhibiting on stand D22 at European Coffee, Tea & Soft Drinks Expo.
- Coffee Bay is the equipment supplier for the Barista Masterclasses and will be exhibiting on stand F26
- Stephen Leighton, founder of Hasbean Coffee,will be co-hosting the Barista and Roastery Masterclasses
- Glebe Farm is the oat drink providers for the Barista and Roastery Masterclasses and will be exhibiting on stand B8
- Brades Farm is the milk provider for the Barista and Roastery Masterclasses and is exhibiting on stand D36.
- Visitor registration is now open for the European Coffee, Tea & Soft Drinks Expo. For FREE fast-track entry click here.
- The Barista Masterclasses will take place at European Coffee, Tea & Soft Drinks Expo held at London’s Olympia on 21 to 22 May 2019.