Have you ever visited a coffee shop and then was amazing by the way the barista made your latte into such a beautiful piece of art that you even felt bad drinking it? It is such a wonderful way the employees at these establishments find to brighten our day just a little bit more. Like any art form, latte art has a beautiful and rich beginning.
Where It Began
In order to know where latte art began, we must know where the latte began. Most of our favorite San Marcos coffee beverages and the words associated with them originate from Italy (for example – latte, cappuccino, cafe, barista). When steamed milk was first added to the espresso creating this morning nectar, the latte was originally named a “caffe latte,” the italian words for “coffee” and “milk”. If you notice, a lot of decor, coffee shops, and various coffee paraphernalia have a very distinct rustic italian theme in honor of the culture that gave us this gift. While it is debated on who did the actual latte art first as many countries immediately capitalized on the trend, I think it’s safe to credit Italy with as much as we can in the coffee industry considering all that it has done for us.
Who Is the Best
After Latte art was popularized in the United States in the late 1980’s and 90’s, latte art started to become popular in many other countries as well. There is one country that seems to be well ahead of the pack in the race for best latte art. Baristas in Asia have taken the task of beverage service to the utmost next level and have created some of the most intricate and well designed lattes out there. The discipline and focus to create some of these is unimaginable. One barista from Hong Kong, Leo Chau, actually creates 3D designs of animals in the froth created by the milk in the lattes for his customers.
Do It for the Gram
Social media was originally created in order to connect with people and share information, but it has become much more than that. Social media sites like instagram have created a very aesthetically driven society. The quick uprise in latte art must be partially attributed to many individuals incessant want to enjoy and photograph things with a high aesthetic value. We do not just want a beverage that tastes delicious and gives us that much needed boost, but we also want it to look pretty so we can “ooh” and “aww over” its wonder. Latte art is a perfectly affordable and beautiful thing to share on your instagram or snap chat, and many people find themselves snapping that picture in the back corner of their local coffee shops. Why would you not?
While your local barista might make your latte art look like a simplest, flawless creation, it actually takes a lot of practice and understanding of how different textures of liquid work together, not to mention these are done quickly under the pressure of a customer line to the door. Next time you are given a latte from your local Mochas and Javas Frisco coffee shop with that extra hint of beauty, admire the culture that it represents, the work that was put into it, and feel free to throw that barista a little extra on the tip. They definitely earned it.