In the barista world, it’s easy to have coffee become monotonous and lose its excitement.
After pulling a few dozen espresso shots in a morning, you’re pretty over it. Wrists are achy, hands will smell like coffee for the rest of the day, and you’re looking for any creative outlet to change it up. Something to add a little pizazz, some flair, a bit of a challenge.
And what better challenge than to make shapes in milk.
In seriousness, Latte Art is a beautiful and artistic way for baristas to represent their creativity and skill.
It’s also a great way to keep a barista honest. Without perfectly steamed milk, or precisely extracted espresso, I couldn’t hope to begin to adorn a beverage with a tulip or Rosetta. And it’s an ever changing realm, that 12 oz mug is a blank canvas, and you only get one pour to make something to catch a customer by surprise.
It takes hours and hours of practice and many gallons of milk to perfect the craft, and shows genuine dedication to their work, and providing not just caffeine in a cup, but something hand crafted and made with intention and care. Mmm…
One of the best compliments I’ve ever received about my art was, “This coffee’s so pretty! I feel guilty drinking it!”. Another time, a couple of young women took their drinks and gingerly carried them to their table, immediately pulling out their phones to take pictures for their Instagrams.
Those are the moments of pride in my work, to have a customers face light up when they see a trivial design in their beverage, and then take that smile with them the rest of their day.
Author of this blog post: Andrew, barista