I’ll start the post with these repost from ben morrow’s instagram feed, from one of the trainings he did.
Why is it always about pretty vs tasty?
I meet people in the industry, and pretty often hear these two positions (not joking, for real):
1) I don’t care about latte art, practicing latte art is stupid, better think about the quality of the drink – I can drink an ugly cappuccino, and I don’t mind, and so should you
2) Latte art is cool, I want to be able to do rosettas, tulips and all other stuff – but I don’t know how my drink tastes, and isn’t it always tastes good, no matter what??
Why always so aggressive? Why are we forced to choose one or another? What if I want my drink tasty AND beautiful?
And, by the way, so does your client. So does your guest. So does the artistic part of any of us, looking for beauty, and your taste buds, looking for balance.
I honestly have nothing against training latte art – and why should I? If the milk is foamed right, and I get my sweet morning treat, why not to get my cappuccino with a nice pattern on top, that will influence my taste perception, and also – my overall satisfaction.
Yes, cappuccino is tastier when it is mixed with the spoon before drinking (espresso and filter, by the way, as well).
I believe that training, if done well, with humbleness and attention, in one area, like latte art, will bring people to aspire to know more about other aspects of coffee. Know about the chemistry of the processes, first about milk, then about coffee. Curiosity is underestimated, in this regard – if it is really curiosity, of course. And not the desire to show of.
I personally like latte art. Yes, it is not the most important thing in coffee – but I like to see my guests smile, I like to see them asking for the second cup right away, or coming the next day, and the day after, asking for 2 flat whites. And I like the feeling of satisfaction I get, when the cup turns out perfect. For me it is like the final touch. Not the most important, but the finishing move. It is like rules of serving the dish, in cooking – strange to ask, of course we prefer when it is beautiful. Same in coffee.
Latte art is just a skill, a technique, a final touch, that helps us to make a point, to win a guest’s heart – final touch, influencing overall perception, which is made by the quality drink. I am not worried about somebody found of latte art, practicing day and night, watching videos – as long as I am sure he makes a tasty drink, overall.
I am more worried of the one who is giving out an ugly drink, not evolving even in tulips, motivating it by the fact that “latte art is not important” – worried not because he is not a latte art freek, but because he doesn’t care. I want somebody who cares. It is a general rule – at work, and in life, I prefer somebody who cares.
Tulip on top is the ultimate sign of care, if the coffee is balanced and tasty. If it is not, none of the patterns will bring you the client back. (Thinking about my worst in life cappuccino in FourBarrel Coffee in SF)
That’s why I don’t see where the problem is. Because it should be tasty, and beautiful – exactly like in the high cuisine.
Saying that latte art doesn’t matter at all – is to lie. Ask your guests what matters. Or, better, just observe.