If you have a coffee habit like myself, chances are you take your morning (or mid-afternoon) brew very seriously, and are possibly regulars at the local cafe by your office or home. You’ve also probably been to some cafes that might have an added bonus to your preferred cup — in the form of coffee art.
Coffee art can be a delightful surprise, and can add to the experience of enjoying your favorite beverage. While it presumably started in Italy (the land of espresso!), it developed and gained momentum in the 1980’s and 1990’s in the United States.
The artwork is created on the top most layer composed of an emulsion of foam and crema. Since these two components are unstable chemically, the art lasts only for a few moments before sinking back into the rest of the drink.
There are two widely known ways to produce latte art: free pouring and etching. Techniques and styles in producing latte art vary from region to region and on how the drink is prepared.
Free pouring is more common in American cafes, and usually does not require more preparation time compared to etching. While more complex patterns are possible through free pouring, the rosette and heart shape are the most popular designs.
Even with the simple base patterns however, baristas take liberty in developing a personal flair for their latte art, sometimes customising the basic pattern into something more unique.
Etching on the other hand requires a little more attention to detail. In order to create the detailed drawings and patterns, a small tool such as a coffee stirrer or a similar item is needed, sometimes adding some foam on to the crema as well. Since the foam dissolves more quickly, etched art typically has a shorter lifespan.
I also found funny and unique designs.
Coffee art certainly makes your drinking experience deliciously beautiful and interesting!