Know Your Craft: My Attempt at Latte Art

By Richa Chaturvedi ’18

Walking to the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), I wonder if I’ve been sent to cover a latte class or to some obscure hipster cult meeting. It’s isolated, standing alone on the water overlooking the boats in the harbor. I walk in desperately in need of some coffee, paying no heed to the careful foam designs that some people take years to master.

But that’s precisely what I went to the ICA to learn. As soon as I entered the room, the sweet but somewhat bitter smell overwhelmed me – the good type of overwhelmed, not the too many p-sets and too little time overwhelmed – and I knew I was in a place where the coffee and the vibes were just too good to pass up. Black Magic Coffee Company, a local coffee stand that frequents farmers markets and caters locally (Harvard is missing a major opportunity there), was the main event.

Dave made me a heavenly latte and then it was my time to shine, my time to prove once and for all that I am an artist by any important standard of measurement.

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I watched the demonstration carefully, noting that the latte artist tipped the cup before pouring anything in, watching his steady hands design swans, acorns, and hearts, moving ever-so-slightly to produce the most majestic swirls and shapes.

But, alas, some things should be left to the masters. I stepped up to the plate and choked, creating an amorphous blob instead of the ambitious flower design I had in mind. It was any self-respecting hipster’s worst nightmare! Luckily, I was soon happily drinking my slice of heaven and all of my troubles floated away. I walked away content; I am an appreciator of all fine things without the ability to create any of them on my own, but that’s just fine with me.

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