Who doesn’t like a bit of fun in their food? Most of us are thrilled to be served star shaped sunny-side eggs, pancakes shaped like our favourite cartoon characters, or a fruit salad in the form of a butterfly, or maybe even a grisly, gaping shark head!
It’s not just kids, ‘grown-up kids’ too love to dig into a superhero pancake, or marvel at the entire globe mapped out on a luscious red apple… or gawk unblinkingly at Lady Gaga’s hell-raising ‘meat dress’! Someone wise once said art is everywhere you see, and if you look closely it might just be sitting atop something as humdrum as your humble coffee cup. That’s how Latte Art elevates your regular cuppa to an immersive artistic experience! Simply put, Latte Art is about making patterns on your coffee… a flower, a heart, or a smiley in white foam that sits prettily on top of your favourite cup of coffee, cajoles a little smile out of you, and dissolves away as soon as you press your lip to the brim and draw in your first tentative and thoughtful sip of the aromatic and heady goodness of coffee! But there’s nothing simple about this art. Your ‘crema’ or espresso needs to be just right, your ‘microfoam’ or hand-foamed milk needs to be just stable, the barista’s hand pouring foam out of the jar needs to be sturdy and nimble, and, most of all you, the receiver of this little piece of art, need to be patient. That’s because a simple ‘pour’ design like the classic ‘fern’, that you may have casually noticed on your cup and devoured unthinkingly, will take only a few seconds. But a more complex image like an eagle, a peacock or even Harry Potter’s bespectacled face can take several minutes to ‘etch’ out on the foam.
Your average, lidded, take-away paper cup of cappuccino doesn’t count here. What does, is a wide-brimmed, fat mug of coffee that you can sit down to for a few minutes, something you can savour for those few snatched moments of ‘pausing and smelling the flowers’ (or coffee in this case!) while the rest of the world hurtles past you… Many years ago, it was in Melbourne that I had squealed in delight and had almost fallen in love with the barista when my hard-earned cappuccino, a luxury on a student budget, arrived before me with a beautiful white foamy heart sitting prettily on it. And last week, it was Melbourne again playing with my heartstrings, showcasing its hip and happening ‘Cafe Culture’ through young Melbournian expert Ben Morrow’s Latte Art.
Coffees and conversations never blended so seamlessly as the usual suspects of food aficionados shared special café experiences and coffee art memories. Ben pitched in with stories of his stint at the World Latte Art Championship, and then gave us a tasting of some great coffees from around the world.
Everyone’s favourite TV personality Rob aka Harun Robert, the smiling, energetic artist on Pogo channel’s M.A.D show, who taught millions of kids how to have fun with art and craft, came up with his own coffee art on the spot – this on canvas with a brush dipped in varying strengths of coffee liquors to create spectacular pop art out of urban scenes, in varying shades of brown and black! Well, beautiful art can smell and taste good too 😉