What’s better than the first sip of a hot cup of coffee made just the way you like it? Well, maybe if that hot cup of coffee did double duty as fine art, you’d enjoy it even more. It’s hard to tell just how long baristas have been creating tiny works of art in coffee cups; latte art has been around in the U.S. for at least two decades, since coffee houses in Seattle began pouring simple patterns into the foam portions of their drinks. Since then it’s evolved into an international obsession, including classes, competitions, online galleries, and coffee houses that promise a work of art with every drink.
Art, someone once said, is everywhere. So it might not just have been my heavy caffeine dependence talking this morning when I found myself captivated by a short video of the astonishing things that can be done on the top of a nice cup of Italian coffee. Where has latte art been all my life? (Here, it turns out, here and, more alarmingly, here.)
In the hands of a capable coffee artist, just about any kind of design is possible. It can take years of practice to get good enough to create original designs, but many baristas are so passionate about coffee that they don’t mind putting in the time to learn. These amazing coffee designs can be seen in coffee shops all around the world, from Seattle to Tokyo and everywhere in between.