Latte art used to be overrated.
When I first got into coffee culture, circa 2007, latte art was my sole metric for determining a good coffee shop.
Of course, at the time my favorite drink was a caramel latte in a serving size that would make European heads swim. (I had only recently been converted from iced mochas with extra chocolate, a drink I enjoyed because “it tastes like chocolate milk.”) I’m not sure what other metric I might have used to determine what constituted a good cup of coffee.
But my approach also reflected the values of the barista community at large.
At the time, netting the top prize at CoffeeFest’s World Latte Art Open Championship could actually lead to an endorsement deal. Even a top-three finish would earn a barista fame and recognition in the coffee community.
But pendulum swings are inevitable, and it’s never been less cool to care about latte art….