Sunday Morning Coffee Art

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For a little off-line design inspiration, I thought it would be nice to get away from the computer and look at some coffee art. I saw a billboard ad recently which featured an image with two cups of latte with designs on top. They were (I’m assuming) photoshopped. However, when I went online to have a look, I was pleasantly surprised to find there are lots of people making art both with coffee as a medium and also people making designs on their lattes. There are even competitions going on to showcase this art form.

Latte art is created when steamed milk is poured into an expresso shot and a contrasting pattern or design is formed on the surface. The design created most frequently is a flower shape known as a rosetta. Other popular designs are hearts, animals and crossed hatch patterns. For more complicated latte designs, some barista etch a pattern using a coffee stirrer.

Some coffee drinkers argue that too much emphasis is placed on the design, leaving an unpalatable cup of coffee behind. Form follows function?

Here’s some examples of some beautiful latte art. (Note: The links are back to the photographers, not the barista.)


Cat by Bun Buku

Tulip Design by Perrys

Pirate by Chris Blakely

A green matcha latte by mountainhiker

Heart by Tonx

Moon and Star by Springleap

Doraemon by Yoshiko

Sunface by Gilfer

If you’d like to make your own, WikiHow has a great tutorial on how to make your own latte art, including tips and warnings (don’t burn yourself!).

Painting With Coffee
Just Coffee Art

Andrew Saur and Angel Sarkela-Saur create paintings using coffee as their medium, and paint with it as water colour. The work is finished with an acrylic sealant.


Another artist working in this medium is Karen Eland who produces beautiful paintings with expresso.


And finally, last month in Australia a huge portrait of the Mona Lisa was created using 3,604 cups of coffee and 564 pints of milk for coloring.

What do you think about coffee art? Inspiring or a waste of a good stimulant?

Jennifer FarleyJennifer Farley
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Jennifer Farley is a designer, illustrator and design instructor based in Ireland. She writes about design and illustration on her blog at Laughing Lion Design.

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