19 Jan 2015

DLA2015 Finalists: Who is Rob Kerkhoff?

The Dutch Latte Art Championships 2015 finals. Six baristas will compete against each other, each of them hoping they will be good enough to go on to the World Latte Art Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The pre rounds are just behind us. So who is our top six? How do they see coffee? And what will they bring to the Latte Art Finals during the Amsterdam Coffee Festival?

Photo by Vinni Zwaan @wetthefilter blog

works at: BABO Coffee

Who is your coffee inspiration?

Everybody that's inspiring and brings new knowledge into the coffee world. Most of the time I see that from people with inspiring runs at the WBC. Like Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood from United Kingdom in 2014. Or this years run at DBC from Ka-Tjun with his story about the SL28 variety, which contains phosphoric acid.

Who taught you latte art?

Back in 2009 I saw a lot of YouTube movies. But the basic heart I learnt from the run of Dutch WBC finalist Liesbeth Sleijster. The video of that run, especially the latte art part, I watch it over and over again.

If you walk into a coffeebar that you have not been before and you want to assess the quality level, what do you look for? And what do you order? And why?

If you want to be a good high level coffeebar, you need to have good coffee. Meaning specialty coffee. And you need skilled barista's who know how to work with that quality of coffee. You should also have not only espresso and milk related coffees, but also slow coffees on your menu. Most of the time I order 3 things; espresso, cappuccino and a slow coffee. These drinks are the base of a good espressobar. Most enjoyable for me is a really good slow coffee.

Do you order coffee when you know it will be bad, or do you then skip the coffee and order something else?

Skip it. Sometimes if there's nothing else and i need my caffeine fix, I just order a black tea. 

What is your favourite brew method?

A Clever Dripper. The quickest and easy to use brew method, that always give you a consistent brew.

How do you brew coffee at home?

I have a shelf with, I think, 6 different slow coffee brew methods, no wait, eight different brew methods. So you could say I have my own slow coffee bar at home. 

If people ask you what they should buy for making coffee at home, what do you suggest they do/buy? Why?

A grinder! And start buying specialty coffee beans. You can buy a lot for at home. But if you don't grind your beans fresh, you will never attain the best possible taste. 

What is the best coffee you had this year?

We are still only in January, but I think the winning espresso of Lex Wenneker at the DBC run. 

Where (coffee related) do you still want to go?

Panama as coffee growing country. Also, San Fransisco, an inspiring place with lots of good coffee places.

Do you take coffee and/or coffee brew methods with you when travelling? If so, what do you bring?

Yes of course I bring brew methods; a scale, a hand grinder and an Aeropress. 

What is the worst coffee you ever had?

A Liberica coffee, roasted really dark. Worst ever.

And finally some questions about latte art and the Dutch Championships. What is the most important variable (coffee, grind, pitcher, milk, etc) for latte art and why?

If your don't have a good shot of espresso, you will not have any good crema. I always say the crema is your canvas and milk is your paint. The pitcher is your brush. But a painter needs paint! Milk is the key factor, Foam and temperature needs to be perfect. 

Why do you think you placed for the finals of the DLA? What did you do to achieve this?

Good question. I think it starts with lot of practising and being creative in your patterns.

What are you looking forward to the most now that you placed for the finals of the DLA?

Seeing a lot of coffee friends again during the Amsterdam Coffee Festival

How are you going to prepare yourself for the finals? 

Lots of practising of course. With a good coach, Bonne. And also finalist Lennart. We have an awesome team, and the awesome training facility of BABO Coffee helps too.

Who is your biggest competition this year?

This year all six finalists are really close together on the level of pouring skills. 

Anything you would like to add?


There you go Rob

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Do you want to read about the other finalists? Read about BelleMaryseLennartNick and Joep.

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