Coffee, Sustainability, and Sproud: A Conversation with Alexander Ntatsos,  Swedish Latte Art Champion

  • What inspired you to start working with coffee?

I first experienced the taste of coffee when I was around 6 years old when my grandmother did a cezve ibrik coffee with a lot of sugar on her fireplace. During my childhood I liked to prepare a cold instant coffee for my father and spend the afternoons playing domino games together. 
It was 07′ when I got my first experience behind a coffee bar. It was a summer job just before my studies in Landscape Architecture.

 

  • How did you adapt to the introduction of plant-based m*lks to the coffee industry?

Moving from Greece to Sweden, it was a shock for me that there were so many options and demand for plant-based m*lks. I found them also extremely difficult to steam and pour a nice heart. Probably I was a bad latte artist back then.

 

The truth is that plant-based m*lks have been developed a lot since then and nowadays, foaming and taste are at a different level.

 

  • What are some things you’re really proud of in your coffee career?

I wouldn’t say proud, but rather grateful to coffee. Most of my friends are coming from the coffee industry, either colleagues or just customers. My wife was a customer and now we have a beautiful family! But if I have to say proud, it would be back in 2018 when I won the Swedish Latte Art Championship.

 

I was new in Sweden and an amateur in latte art, but with endless hours of practicing and with the help from Nikos Bellis, I managed to win and represent Sweden in the World Championship in Brazil.

 

  • How did you discover Sproud?

I found out about Sproud before it was launched in Stockholm through a coffee friend. I reached out to the team in Malmö and received some samples.

 

Tasting Sproud was a surprise for me because it tasted very natural and balanced with coffee, without overpowering the coffee. I could pull three different espressos, pour some cappuccinos with Sproud and still be able to indicate which one was what. Incredible!

 

  • How do you see the future of plant-based m*lks evolving in the next years?

Well, I see mostly plant-based m*lks in the future and barely any cow milk use. For instance, Sproud has the three most important characteristics you need.  First, it is nutritious, as it is protein based, enhanced with vitamins and calcium, low or zero in sugars, low on calories and of course free of gluten or lactose.

 

Second, it is extremely tasty. It tastes natural without altering the coffee profile, instead it gives a rich body, balance and pleasant mouthfeel.

 

Third, it is the most sustainable option, with low CO2 footprints and the only food company with ISO 26 000 verification for it’s transparency, ethics, function and more. When working in coffee, it’s important to think of those things as well. Also as also a Landscape Architect, I deeply know the sustainability of growing peas. It is not a main crop, instead it is grown between main crops and it has the ability to fix nitrogen back into the soil, making it fertile again.

 

  • Do you have any tips on working with Sproud in a café setup?

Always to start with a gentle shaking before pouring in the milk pitcher or the glass.
Sproud is not only for capuccino, so be creative with cold drinks, such as iced latte, iced flatwhite and smoothies. However, for a nice and shiny microfoam, start inserting steam early before it reaches 30 degrees because that’s the point when protein start reaction. Through all the process try to create a vortex and finish on 55 to 58 degrees.

 

  • What’s next for you?

I want to study and experience on how to communicate and present a good product (such as Sproud). How to create strategies and how to build awareness for this kind of products. Preferably, related within the coffee industry!

 

Alexander Ntatsos​

Swedish Latte Art Champion 2018 & 2019

Sproud distributor in Greece at Plantfoods