In the weeks after winning the Late Art comp in Vegas I have been thinking about latte arts place in our industry. Certainly I am pigeon holed as a latte artist, by my own doing I might add, but I am inclined to think of myself as a barista first and latte artist as a bi-product. I remember when the guys at Cafe Artigiano were winning the Millrock Comp. and actually stepped away in order to shift the public’s focus on them from latte art to the entire craft of coffee. Sammy is one of the best Latte Artists in the world yet what he was aware of , and what I believe every barista out there needs to be aware of…is that latte art can be a HUGE distraction.
You get praise from almost everyone around you even if you are just moderately “ok” at it. No criticism = no growth. It is much harder to make an outstanding shot than it is to impress your customer with a leaf. You can get a big head and concerning your skills make much ado about nothing. Where latte art in the hands of someone who has a healthy respect for both their integrity and their ability to violate their integrity will never allow Latte Art to be anything more in their mind than an enhancement to the beverage…not the point of the beverage.
When you earn a customers respect and praise through TASTE…not ART …then you are starting to achieve something.