#ASCATop12 member Alice Park reveals her journey from latte art enthusiast to champion of the Central Region.

When did you begin competing in ASCA championship?
My first competition was the 2018 Central Region Championship. 

What inspired you to take part?
My passion for latte art was so deep, but I was always scared to try something different, other than just working behind the bar. I attended the 2017 Regional competition and watched other baristas competing. The moment I saw their presentation, it really inspired me to be one of them.

What were some of the challenges you faced in the beginning?
Every moment was a challenge for me. The most challenging part was creating a pattern for the latte art design. I am not a very creative or artistic person, so designing a pattern was a little stressful in the beginning. Other than that, I had speeches to prepare, practice while working in a cafe and pushing myself to practice until I am satisfied with my work.

How were these overcome?
I spent lot of my time and effort to find the solution. Eventually I came up with the design that I am happy with, practice over and over until I won’t be making any mistakes. The challenges made me grow stronger and I was happy with my results too!😍

What is it about your main field of competition that made you choose it over the others?
I competed in latteart competion, simply because that’s what I have most enjoyed. I wasn’t as talented in other fields, but latte art was just what I am so passionate about. 

What have you learnt about coffee through competing?
I’ve learnt how to enjoy my career. Challenging myself, learning new skills and developing my own designs led me to the next level of being a latte artist. 

How has it impacted your career?
I have gained a lot of confidence. Before the competition, I used to be in a slump and always questioned about my latte art skills, but after the competition, I proved to myself I am better than what I thought. 

What is yout best memory from competing in coffee championships?
Competing with my friends. I have this ‘latte art crew’ where we used to gather up once a week and practice latte art together, and we all competed in the competition together. Yes, we are competing against each other, but we also help one another on the scoresheets, giving each other feedbacks and going through the competition together. 

What are some of the easy mistakes you’ve made early in your competition journey?
Dropping my etching pen was the biggest mistake I’ve ever made. I was trying to grab my chux below my etching pen but for some reason, my etching pen fell on the ground. When it fell, my brain stopped working and my speech was frozen, but I still continued. After making this mistake, every competition after this I always carry an extra etching pen on my apron so I don’t freeze anymore!

What advice would you give other thinking about competing?
I’ve learnt so much from competing with other talented baristas. I always thought I am not ready to compete, but I knew I will never be ready at any point, so I just competed with no expectations, just for an experience. I am sure you will learn something just by competing, you will notice you are challenging yourself and see yourself growing.