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The History of Latte Art in America

Latte art is a growing trend but few know how it started. Learn where latte art originated and the names behind latte art techniques.

Why do we love latte art so much? Well, there are few things as mesmerizing as watching a true latte artist at work, even if it does make us feel pretty bad about our own feeble attempts.

While we know latte art clearly seemed to blow up over night being featured on hundreds of Instagram accounts, where did it originate from? Latte art is often presumed to have initially developed in Italy but in actuality began independently in various countries.


As far as the U.S. is concerned, the art was popularized in Seattle during the 80’s and 90’s by a man named David Schomer. He is also responsible for developing the rosette pattern in 1992 based on a photo he had seen. The heart pattern became a signature design at Schomer’s Espresso Vivace by 1989.

What is Latte Art?

Latte art is created by a mixture of crema and microfoam. Crema is an emulsion of coffee oil and brewed coffee, whereas microfoam is frothed milk. Both the crema and microfoam have to be a certain temperature and consistency in order to create distinct patterns. There are two pretty common techniques used, which are called free pouring and etching.

Free Pouring

Free pouring is used to describe a technique where the barista moves the pitcher while pouring the milk to create an image.


Etching is where you use a tool or stick to pull the crema and foam forming an image after the milk has been poured.

If you love creative latte art as much as we do, be sure to check out our latte art Pinterest board filled with latte art inspiration, videos, and how to’s. If you have access to an espresso machine, try some for yourself!

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