Ever since the first baristas simultaneously delighted customers and forced them to confront the impermanence of beauty and life by conjuring graceful shapes from coffee and foamed milk, the art of the latte has evolved considerably.
While early latte artists (the pioneer is thought to be David Schomer from Seattle's Espresso Vivace) created flowers and hearts in foamed milk, today's cafe mavericks have brought everything from customers' portraits to 3-D bunnies to cups around the world.
To mark Coffee Week on Fast Company, we asked coffee artist Michael Breach to work his steamed milk magic and create some very special cup-bound portraits.
Breach created these evanescent works of art for us at his local coffee shop, Express Yourself Barista Bar in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
Breach says he started making latte art for fun while he was working late nights as a barista, but now he creates latte art professionally, for events and ads. He specializes in portraits, creating them using bamboo stir sticks, steamed milk/foam and espresso. (you'd be missing out if you didn't check out his Instagram account, which features foam interpretations of countless pop culture figures including the likes of Nic Cage, Edward Scissorhands and Joaquin Phoenix as Theodore Twombly in Her).
He was excited to try some famous Internet animals and emoji with us. See the magic happen in the video above.
BONUS FOAM ART: For more foam action, Breach will be at Fast Company HQ this Friday, August 22 and he'll be taking requests for latte creations. Beginning at 9 a.m., just tweet an image request with the hashtag #FastFoam and Breach will turn select requests into one-of-a-kind, very temporary, hot and tasty portraits.
- Why You Should Work From A Coffee Shop, Even When You Have An Office - January 2013
- Cups: The App For Coffee Addicts - May 2013
- Why You Shouldn't Drink Coffee In The Morning - February 2014
- How Coffee Makes You More Honest - April 2014
- Bulletproof Coffee: The New Power Drink Of Silicon Valley - July 2014