Coffee lovers are trying their unsteady hands at a craze called latte art: creating intricate designs in espresso foam, the Wall Street Journal reports. Using techniques like jiggling a pitcher while pouring milk, "artists" form pictures of rosettas, leaves, and swans atop their frothy drinks. Some post photos and videos online, while others compete for cash in organized "throw downs."
The trend has spawned a complete latte art industry, including books, how-to DVDs, custom accessories, and beginner kits. One entrepreneur went so far as to design a machine that stamps complex patterns into foam with edible ink. But hardcore espresso connoisseurs aren't buying the hype: "You could have a drink that's totally beautiful with the most amazing design...and tastes like garbage," said one barista.