A fusion of traditional Japan and western coffee culture

Following the global trend, baristas and other artists who can produce visual magic on a cup of latte are now a common sight in Japan. Whether it's creating the traditional abstract patterns of elegant swirls, spirals, and other decorative motifs, or the painterly approach where nearly any image (or recently, three-dimensional shape) can be realized on the foam canvas, beautiful displays of latte art populate Japanese social media accounts.

Although it could be argued that kissaten coffee shops such as Café Benisica in Yurakucho, which we reported on before, are a uniquely Japanese contribution to cafe culture, one relatively recent drink which most aptly embodies the fusion of traditional Japan and Western coffee culture is the matcha latte.

On May 23rd, 2019, matcha maniacs, latte lovers and barista art aficionados will congregate in Tokyo for the world's very first matcha latte art competition.

Japan Matcha Latte Art Competition 2019

Here's what you can expect:

12 competitors vying to become matcha latte art champion

Out of the 40 baristas who submitted their entries with photos of their work, an international group of 12 will be selected for the qualifying round in a competition to become matcha latte art champion. MCed by comedian Coffee Rumba Hiraoka and with DJ Taichi Isozaki providing the music, it's sure to be a fun event.

Celebrity judges decide qualifiers, general public decides finalists

Judging in the qualifying round, judges Daisuke Tanaka, champion of the Coffee Fest Latte art world championship in Chicago 2015, 10th Dan Tea Master and owner of Shimokita Cha'en Taisei Ōyama, and writer, model and coffee connoisseur Vaughan will narrow down the 12 contestants to a final group of 8. Then, in the final round, participants from the general public who have purchased a "judge ticket" (see below) will decide on the grand champion.

Special competition matcha, original matcha dorayaki to be sold

Those who purchase advance tickets (see below) to the competition will receive a cup of matcha latte made with Tsujiki matcha 辻喜 from Kyoto, winner of the Prime Minister's Award in the Tencha 碾茶 (powdered green tea) category at the 2017 National Tea Competition. You'll also be able to buy delicious matcha dorayaki cakes from Kinkadō 菫花堂 made with the same tea.


The contestants will be judged on the following 4 categories:

  • Aesthetic Beauty / Balance / Symmetry
  • Definition
  • Color Infusion
  • Degree of Difficulty and Creativity

Advance Tickets / Crowdfunding

Advance tickets are available until May 17th (JST)

Advance Tickets

Same-day tickets will be sold at the door, but advance tickets are only available as part of their crowdfunding campaign, with reward tiers starting at 2,500 JPY for general admission tickets and a cup of matcha latte, 3,500 JPY for the right to participate in the final round as a judge, and other tiers to purchase green tea, a special commemorative tenugui cloth, and a one-of-a-kind can of tea signed by all the finalists. Click on the link below to visit the campaign page on Makuake and purchase a ticket:

Japan Matcha Latte Competition 2019 crowdfunding campaign

Event Information

  • Event name: Japan Matcha Latte Art Competition 2019
  • Date and Time: May 23rd (Thur.) 18:00 to 21:00 (venue opens at 17:45)
  • Address: 2-6-10 Miyoshi Koto-ku Tokyo (6 min. walk from subway Kiyosumi-shirakawa Sta.)
  • Price: 2,500 JPY; w/judging rights: 3,500 JPY (includes 1 cup of matcha latte)
  • Instagram: matchalatteart_japan
  • Twitter: @matcha_latteart

By - Ben K.