I m Alex Datsos from Stockholm and I work at Lofbergs flagship store as a barista, roaster, education and developing the coffee experience of the company.
I was six years old when I had my first coffee, by then I did not know coffee was going to be my greatest interest.
It all began in my grandmother’s kitchen in South Albania. Even if I was only six, I can vividly remember what I saw and the scents that struck me. How my grandmother roasted and grounded the beans before she brewed the coffee. A real piece of craftmanship. I thought it tasted good, maybe because I added tons of sugar. But the coolest thing was to see my grandmother’s passion. It rubbed off on me.
At the age of 10 my family moved in Athens and it was summer 07’ when I got my first experience behind a coffee bar. It was a summer job, just before my studies in architecture. It was not an easy start at all, as I was inexperienced for such a demanding coffee bar in Athens.
I started latte art since 2012 by performing basic patterns as everyone for few years. It was 2016 when I had my first training from 4times Romanian champion. The same year I moved to Sweden where I practiced alone intensively. To compete for first time I had a great help from Greek champion 15’ Nikos Mpelis, who is by my side since then to every upcoming competition. I would say he was my inspiration in the first place as I was admiring his talent and career.
When I am home, I try to take a break from work. It usually does not go that well. I often practice a couple of hours too, where I mostly use Sproud for texture and taste.
Compared to previous generations of plant based products, based on soy, nuts and grains the pea is superior in every way. It´s nutritious, pure and has a low carbon footprint. Besides “no milk, no gluten and no soy” the pea is also free of (or low in) a lot of other not-so-good stuff. It’s non-GMO and does not contain any cholesterol or allergens. And it’s low in sugar and fat. Sproud is lactose-, soy-, nut- and gluten-free, making it a safe choice for those with food allergies or intolerances. Contains fewer calories than cow’s milk, making it a more weight-loss-friendly beverage. If we think environmentally, cow’s milk requires 25 times more water to produce than pea not to mention greenhouse gas emissions.
When it comes to beverage such as cappuccino, Sproud fits better that any dairy alternative. What happens is that coffee flavor is stronger above all. There’s no sweetness as it happens with oat drink but a full body of beverage and a pleasant mouthful experience. There’s so greenish flavor as it happens with soy drink or nutty aftertaste like almond. There’s is something else that surprisingly Sproud is great with and that is chocolate. For someone who likes hot chocolate, definitely should try it.
I strongly believe that Sproud can be used as a dairy alternative. All baristas are not happy to make a cappuccino from soy or almond drink. From latte art prospective, I used Sproud to practice for my second world championship in Berlin. I was able to perform advanced patterns. It has a reach and creamy texture and it’s easy to perform latte art. From flavor prospective it will not overcome your coffee but it will be a nice mix, allowing coffee to keep its profile.
Some patterns are compulsory, others the contestants get to come up with themselves. I am often inspired by nature when i create my patterns. No wonder, as I spent 4 intensive years studying landscape architecture. If I had to quit as a barista I would probably start working as a landscape architect again. I was given room for my interest in design at the same time as I contributed to a positive development of society.