Mental Floss

Latte art

Ransom Riggs

In a fancy restaurant, anyone paying $50 for a piece of fish might reasonably expect that their entree be plated in an artistic way. In fancy coffeehouses, it's becoming increasingly common for lattes and other coffee- or cappuccino-based drinks to be presented nicely, too (and at $4 a pop, rightly so), and some ambitious baristas have raised that final touch to what many consider a new kind of art form. That's right: latte art. According to the 'pedia (Wiki, that is), latte art is created either by "manipulating the flow of milk from a jug into the espresso (known as free pour latte art) or by drawing designs with an implement (known as etching), using stencils, powders and milk foam."

There's even an annual latte art competition in the Netherlands. If you'd rather not leave it to the baristas, you can find a do-it-yourself latte art guide here. And this is a great collection of latte art photos via flickr. But the topper, of course, is a video demonstration: