The other day a barista served a take away cappuccino to a customer. The comment we heard was “what is the point, I am going to drink it“.

It is true without a doubt, the customer will drink the hot beverage! However, latte art is an art made with milk. It is the finishing touch – the icing on the cake.

This particular person was a drinker not a taster: in other words didn’t actually appreciate the skill of the coffee maker. It is craft, it is handmade, it is unique and beautiful but it is never good enough for some.

Latte art - rosetta and tulip

Latte art – rosetta and tulip

A barista is generally ending the flat white, cappuccino or latte (even chai latte) with a rosetta, heart, tulip. What does this show and why?

It is a guarantee that the milk is perfect for the drink: having been stretched, spinned and texturised – it means that the barista knows how to produce a great coffee with just the amount of froth required.

Sometimes people seem annoyed by everything even if what they are waiting for is for themselves. Everything has to be fast and instant…but quality takes time.

The internet is never fast enough despite all improvement from 3G to 4G…it has to be faster. But what do people want?

Patience could be a forgotten word from the 20th century. Look around you when shopping or waiting for something. Individuals look frustrated and angry because the queue in front of them is not moving. However, when it is their turn they want all the attention and take their time to decide, pick and order. Is this not slightly selfish and inconsiderate?

Now, let’s imagine that when ordering a dish the vegetables, fish/meat, salad are just piled up on a plate without care. Surely, this would trigger a complain. So why, attention to detail when it comes to make latte art can be perceived as pointless but when the food is badly presented, it is then unacceptable?!

Would this mean that coffee is seen as a quick fix – or do real coffee tasters want it well served…even if that rosetta will go? Latte art is part of it, isn’t it? We could then ask whether packing birthday presents is also a waste of time, money and effort as this paper will be binned! Overall, it is about the visual effect and showing that there is a real dedication to give something crafted by one person for another.

Producing coffee for let’s say 10 hours a day can be seen as something rather easy and straight forward. But each time – for every drink – it is a new start.

It requires real skills, focus/concentration (yes indeed) and passion. The barista doesn’t just make A drink. He/she will prepare it for you – a bespoke beverage made to order with quality ingredients when it comes to speciality coffee! La crème de la crème!

Pouring Latte Art - close up

Pouring Latte Art – close up

Finally, it is not because you are requesting a take away hot drink that you will be served quicker – the queue is the same for everyone, unless you have decided to go to the express lane of a well known fast food. There is no priority for the paper cup queue as everything has to match the ethical way of making good coffee.

For more details about latte art competition visit SCAE UK page HERE.

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