Coffee is a necessity for writers like me. It’s that instant kick of energy that almost instantly gets the mind going, and the words flowing.

Art. Oh my. As someone who likes making a canvas out of anything, being able to create is just exhilarating.

Now, put these two together and what you get are beautifully crafted cups of well brewed caffeine fix.

Or not… if you have pasmado hands like mine. Haha. But, it’s an awesome experience nonetheless. How can I tell?

Latte Art Workshop by Barista Cafe

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Last week, Dec. 10, I joined the Latte Art Workshop organized by Barista Cafe, in Kendo Creative, Shop 33, Cubao Expo. Coffee-making equipment brand Breville’s brand ambassador and award-winning Barista, Dave Dource, facilitated the intimate 5-hour workshop. With him was Barista Cafe manager, Eirene Go.

He first offered freshly brewed and Instagram-perfect coffee to us, which he did within a few minutes’ time. It looked so effortless, so I thought it is, but boy was I wrong.

Opening the Session

Dave opened the session with a brief discussion about latte art, which he described as dependent on the quality of both the coffee and milk used, as well as the manner in which the milk is poured.

It’s an eye-opener from the start, since it made me realize how meticulous the process is. I’ve handled paint and liquid makeup, and I sure know how to improvise even when the quality of the materials isn’t very good. With latte art, you can’t do the same, because you’ll be serving the finished product.

Everything is precise: from the temperature, to the amount of time used, to the angle from which you position the pitcher against the cup when pouring, to how you work everything out using the machine and still make the whole process look as visually appealing as possible.

Dave pointed out the importance of following the specifics in latte art. The milk, for example, when over-steamed, is going to pack too much air, which will make the coffee drinker feel bloated after drinking. In addition, it will affect the texture, which will make it hard to form the pattern.

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Photo Credit: Chris dela Cruz 🙂

Hands-on

After a few more pointers on the technicalities of the process, Dave demonstrated the patterns and techniques. First, he gave a demo on etching, which involves using a spoon and etching tool to shape the milk foam on top of the crema (the darkest, top most surface of the coffee).

His samples turned out amazing, obviously.

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Now, it’s our turn. All the participants brewed and steamed on their own, following what Dave taught. I’d say they all turned out pretty well, though mine looked a little too…original. Hahaha. Instead of swirls, I formed some sort of a rose…hahaha.

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Next up, it’s the pour-dependent patterns, and Dave demonstrated the heart, the rosetta, the tulip, and the swan, which all looked awesome, and easy, as expected.

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Dave wanted us to each have three rounds of the heart pattern and  one round of the rosetta, and had us practice pouring using water in the pitcher and the cup. It was pretty messy, so everyone was nervous about doing the actual thing.

Before we started with the hands-on, he gave a reminder: thicker steamed milk is great for patterns like the heart, while the rosetta, which has a more refined shape, works well with thinner consistency.

Finally, it was time for some free pour latte art action! My hands were shaking, needless to say.

Pour, swirl, big amount, CUUUUUT! So far, my hearts turned out like half hearts or full circles, and my rosetta…uhm, yeah, I won’t embarrass myself any further lol. :)) My co-attendees did great, though. Here are some of our works:

Left: Co-attendee Diana’s rosetta. Her first try, btw. Awesome!!! Right: My heart HAHAHA.

Few more rounds for everyone, and we began our cleanup.

Much Love for Coffee and Art

While my attempts didn’t turn out as nicely as I hoped they would, I still enjoyed the experience. For someone who doesn’t have a background on coffee-making, the workshop provided great insight on the craft: it’s meticulous, it’s not as easy as it looks, and it takes practice, lots of it, to perfect.

I appreciate how the majority of the session was dedicated for actual latte art, and I commend Dave and manager Eirene for patiently guiding us throughout the session. Kudos to you guys 🙂

As a writer who just happened to consume lots of coffee and have a knack for art, this workshop has been a fresh and thoroughly enjoyable learning experience. If I enjoyed it, then I know well that those who have a background in coffee will, too.

Thanks Barista Cafe, for letting me walk out of the workshop with much love for both art and coffee! And, congratulations to us, my co-attendees! 😀 Now, I just need to fix my shaky hands HAHAHAHAHA!

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Do follow their Facebook page for more updates on future workshop schedules, or maybe, sign up for them, too! 😀

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