Isaac’s barista ranks among the best in the World Latte Art competition

Isaac's Barista Kyle Layton pours drinks at the local cafe Thursday, March 17, 2022 in Salem, Oregon.  Layton is the top 16 in the World Latte Art Championship.

If you close your eyes and listen to the roar of the espresso machine behind Isaac’s bar, you won’t guess the magic that happens with espresso and milk in the hands of barista Kyle Layton. He recently ranked in the top 16 of the World Latte Art Championship in New York.

the Latte Art World Championship is a medium-style latte art competition that takes place four times a year during coffeefest, a convention that revolves around coffee and espresso. The championship requires competitors to be on a stage; they have two and a half minutes to make as many latte art attempts to make one as they can submit. Once the photos and judging are complete, the competitors are eliminated or advance in the bracket.

“It was a big moment for me,” Layton said. It was only his second competition and upon reaching the final in one of the most competitive latte art cities, he felt thrilled to be among the best.

Layton has been a barista for five years, originally starting at Ikebox before moving to Isaac’s once it opened its doors nearly four years ago. This last latte competition was only Layton’s second; its first appearance and participation dates back to last November, which was held in Seattle.

Isaac's barista Kyle Layton pours a wing tulip latte design on Thursday, March 17, 2022 in Salem, Ore.

He said when he first competed in Seattle he had “the jerks”, his hands being almost too jittery and shaky to pour the milk into the cup. Layton had one goal: to beat one person, which he completed by advancing to the second round.

However, he “completely threw it away”. Dissatisfied with his first latte art, he attempted a second one and because it took too long and he couldn’t finish it, he was disqualified.