The Calgary Journal
The Calgary Journal
From coffee beans to Instagram, here is the history, process and success of latte art. Video produced by Alexandra Nicholson and Shaunda Lamont.

 A common Internet trend is posting photos of lattes on social media. A barista spends extra time whipping up a design on your coffee for a transient experience, from photograph to consumption. What most people don’t know is how they do it.

In the late 1800s, a steam powered coffee machine was invented that would lead to the development of espresso. In the 1980s, latte art made its way into pop culture with its new take on modern art, thanks to David Schomer and Luigi Lupi, the original two innovators of the craft.

There are several steps to creating latte art. First, a barista must create a regular espresso shot. Depending on where you go, each barista has their own unique touch, like adding food colouring, darker espresso, and matcha.

Next up is the microfoam. This may sound fancy but it’s actually just foamed milk made with a steam wand. The next step is where the magic happens.

Caitlin 2 web150McGloin pours the microfoam into the espresso at Société Coffee Lounge, getting one step closer to a beautiful and delicious conclusion. Photo by Shaunda Lamont.

The design is actually formed by pouring the foamed milk into the espresso to create many different patterns. The milk is commonly white but some baristas add colour to all ,or some, of the milk depending on the design.

“I’m definitely against taking pictures of food and then posting it, but if you take it for yourself you preserve it,” says Singh.

With over 4.5 million posts on Instagram with the hashtag latte art, many people are finding local cafes to decorate their social media.Caitlin McGloin, a barista at Société Coffee Lounge, says she is constantly trying to improve her craft with latte art by incorporating new designs. McGloin has created many designs from a jack o'lantern to a snowman.

Even though the latte art is temporary, McGloin says people appreciate the design, enriching the experience of their latte. She adds the designs for aesthetic purposes, and people can contribute to the latte craze on social media sites like Instagram.

Peacock 1 web150A red peacock latte design by McGloin at Société Coffee Lounge on 11th Avenue.  Photo by Shaunda Lamont.

“I think some just enjoy, now with the Instagram thing saying, ‘Look what I gottoday,’” says McGloin.

This may seem strange to many people, but Calgarians such as Jaspreet Singh believe it’s a wondrous experience, especially when it comes to taking photographs.

“I’m definitely against taking pictures of food and then posting it, but if you take it for yourself, you preserve it,” says Singh.

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 Editor: Sarah Kirk | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.