Dalla Corte Campus Has Begun!

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Dalla Corte’s annual training event for the national champions in latte art and coffee in good spirits has officially begun here in Milan. Barista Magazine was lucky enough to attend last year, and we’re back again to report on the fun and education, team-building and general merriment of this very special event.

Giovanni and Antonella of Dalla Corte welcome the national champions to this third edition of DC Campus in Milan.

Giovanni and Antonella of Dalla Corte welcome the national champions to this third edition of DC Campus in Milan.

It’s a lot like summer camp: old friends are reunited, and new friendships are forged. The days are packed with training in the basics of both the latte art and coffee and good spirits championships, as well as the need-to-know information about what it takes to stand out to the judges. In fact, Sonja Grant of Iceland, who is one of the chief organizers and head judges of the competitions, is here to help prepare these national champs for the World Latte Art Championship (WLAC) and the World Coffee In Good Spirits Championship (WCIGS), both of which will take place in May in Melbourne.

The group of baristas and some sponsors and guests are ready for a full three days of training!

The group of baristas and some sponsors and guests are ready for a full three days of training!

Marcin of Poland, who placed second in the 2013 World Coffee In Good Spirits Championship, is here to share his experience with this year's champions. Here, he registers the morning of the first day of DC Campus.

Marcin of Poland, who placed second in the 2013 World Coffee In Good Spirits Championship, is here to share his experience with this year’s champions. Here, he registers the morning of the first day of DC Campus.

Excited baristas gather at the gate of the Dalla Corte loft, waiting to register.

Excited baristas gather at the gate of the Dalla Corte loft, waiting to register.

As the official espresso machine of the WLAC and the WCIGS, Dalla Corte’s investment in these competitions goes far beyond monetary support: DC Campus is completely free for the champions, and Dalla Corte generously hosts the baristas, provides them with state-of-the-art training spaces, incredible instructors, and great coffee and ingredients with which to work. Truly, Dalla Corte goes above and beyond in terms of preparing and supporting these champions.

2013 World Coffee In Good Spirits Champ Victor of France rides the bus with his peers to the Italian countryside, where we are staying.

2013 World Coffee In Good Spirits Champ Victor of France rides the bus with his peers to the Italian countryside, where we are staying.

Antonella welcomes the baristas to the royal villa.

Antonella welcomes the baristas to the royal villa.

This year’s DC Campus began yesterday, Thursday, with all of the champions arriving here in Milan to Dalla Corte’s loft space. Formerly the company’s factory, the loft space is now a spacious training area situated around a private courtyard in the heart of Milan.

After everyone had arrived, we boarded a bus and were taken to the Italian countryside in Brianza, on the edge of Lake Como. The baristas were in for a very special treat: rather than staying in a city hotel, Antonella Cutrona of Dalla Corte had rented Villa Mapelli Mozzi, the summer house of a royal Italian family, where the baristas would sleep each of the three nights of the event.

Sonja and Antonella pose for a photo in one of the children's rooms in the villa.

Sonja and Antonella pose for a photo in one of the children’s rooms in the villa.

We gathered there for dinner, marveling over the architecture, decor, and beauty of the 14th century palace. Then we gathered round fires outside to socialize and laugh. It was a special evening.

Before we begin the day's sessions, Christian from Mahlkönig—the official grinder sponsor of the WLAC and WCIGS—chats with Gordon, the former UK Coffee In Good Spirits Champion.

Before we begin the day’s sessions, Christian from Mahlkönig—the official grinder sponsor of the WLAC and WCIGS—chats with Gordon, the former UK Coffee In Good Spirits Champion.

Holger of Dalla Corte is making sure things run efficiently here at DC Campus.

Holger of Dalla Corte is making sure things run efficiently here at DC Campus.

From left to right: Christian from Germany, Sam from New Zealand, and Esther from Netherlands gather to sing the praises of latte art!

From left to right: Christian from Germany, Sam from New Zealand, and Esther from Netherlands gather to sing the praises of latte art!

Today we are back in Milan at the Dalla Corte loft space for a full day of training. As I type this, Sonja is leading a discussion of the complex rules and regulations of the WLAC, in which the baristas can ask questions and get clarification on any issues they may have.

Victor and Nir of France try a new signature drink for WCIGS.

Victor and Nir of France try a new signature drink for WCIGS.

Hisako of Japan, who is the current World Latte Art Champion, shows the padded fabric bags that her mother made for her steaming pitchers and equipment when traveling.

Hisako of Japan, who is the current World Latte Art Champion, shows the padded fabric bags that her mother made for her steaming pitchers and equipment when traveling.

Former Barista Magazine cover barista Victor checks out our new issue.

Former Barista Magazine cover barista Victor checks out our new issue.

Stay tuned for updates every day from here in Milan, on Barista Magazine’s blog as well as on our social media on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Wish you were here!

About the Author

Sarah

Sarah Allen is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.