Latte Art: Coffee, Microfoam, and Mini Masterpieces

Two very cute examples of latte art
Latte art in action.

Okay, we’re not coffee drinkers here at Professional Moron. We drink tea—Assam and various herbals (mint, ginger, nettle etc.).

But you know what you can’t do with tea!? Make it into microfoam art! Which is exactly what you can do with a latte.

And it’s thanks to one Gastro Obscura photo that you’re now being forced to read all about it. But first… the basics!

What’s Latte Art?

It’s a latte preparation technique where microfoam (finely texture milk) is poured into a shot of espresso.

Baristas can do this to create pretty (or terrifying) designs on the surface, so the customer can stare at their beverage and swoon in wonder.

Apparently, it’s very difficult to consistently create fine latte art.

The espresso shot and milk make for a lot of uncertainty, so only a skilled barista can manage masterpiece after masterpiece.

But when done correctly, it can be magnificent to behold.

On the History and Glory of Latte Art

Hyperrealistic latte art may be a step forward too soon. But there it is. Adorable… or terrifying?

We had a gander through Instagram with the #latteart tag and found less divisive examples. Such as this cute little beauty.

Coffee being such a massive market these days (although we still say cheese tea is better), the artistic side of it developed across multiple countries.

This has been around for a while now, too, as cases of it are known from Seattle during the 1980s.

Co-founder of Espresso Vivace, David Schomer, said it was Upton Espesso’s Jack Kelly who came up with the idea in 1986.

Kelly would add a love heart to the latte. Customers liked it so much it begin a shindig everywhere and kind of took off from there.

And it’s taken off from there! These days people seem to find an ASMR kick out of it, kind of like soap crunching and the channel SandSation.

Which, nudge nudge, means maybe you should give it a try! Here’s how to go about frothing up your mild to create a masterpiece.

How to Make Latte Art

If you’re CRAZY enough to want to do this, the experts out there have plenty of advice on doing your latte art.

Think about it. Wouldn’t it be nice (Beach Boys) to have a hyperrealistic latte in the morning with something weird staring back at you?

  • An outraged, braying walrus.
  • Genghis Khan wielding an axe.
  • Rasputin and his massive beard.
  • Brian Blessed bellowing something.
  • Brad Pitt winking invitingly at you.

Whatever, that’s the joy of art. You can make of it what you please.

Is There a World Latte Art Championship?

Of course there is! It’s held annually (pandemics permitting) Peter Chan from Hong Kong appears to be one of the best in the world.

Against the clock and with people gazing down upon him, Chan battled the pressure effortlessly to deliver near total perfection. Bon!

Despite his best efforts, he finished a fine 6th.

It was actually Manuela Fensore of Italy who took the title! Again, against the clock and on the spot, she served up some proper belters.

Most excellent stuff, non? This should make you RESPECT the barista a little bit more in future.

Rather than scolding them mercilessly for forgetting to put cinnamon on the most obnoxious order you could dream up!

The iced, half-caff, ristretto, venti, 4-pump, sugar free, dolce soy skinny latte (dusted with cinnamon). Wow, you’re not a power tripping bellend, eh!?

Anyway, the championship seems to be on hold whilst the pandemic plays out. But watch this space! It’ll be back.

Dispense with some gibberish!

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