If, as commonly believed, coffee sparks creativity, it figures that bean-obsessed baristas might want to turn your cup of joe into a work of art. The latte art masters in Tokyo don’t stop at the common free-pouring tulip, heart and swan, so expect 3D creations using milk foam – or even have your face ‘printed’ on your picture-perfect drink.
Here's a tip: make sure you have your favourite photo in the phone, it can be any character, animal or even artwork. Show that to the latte art master and it will be recreated on your cup of milk coffee. With that said, here are the best cafés that do amazing latte art in Tokyo.
As long as there’s steamed milk, latte art master Kohei Matsuno can transform any ordinary coffee into a tiny work of art. So show him a photo of your favourite character or animal and he’ll recreate it on the drink’s surface either as a flat or 3D rendition (both at ¥1,200 each) right in front of your eyes. Otherwise, just opt for the basic latte art (¥650) and leave it to Matsuno’s imagination. Either way, you won’t be disappointed.
Tokyo’s first latte art café opened in 2015 in Harajuku, and since then milk foam artist Kazuki Yamamoto has garnered quite a considerable following. Order one of the café’s signature drinks – caffé latte, raspberry latte or hot chocolate – and show a photo of the character, animal or scenery you’d like to see on top of your beverage. A few minutes later, you’ll receive a drinkable piece of art (¥1,100) featuring a stunning flat or 3D recreation of your requested image.
If you’re looking for a more colourful latte art, visit Roar in the cosy neighbourhood of Hatchobori. The baristas can adorn any drink that uses steamed milk with art rendered in rainbow colours. We recommend the signature honey or salted caramel latte. You can choose for them to pour in the shot of espresso before or after creating the art; the former results in the usual coffee-coloured base while the latter creates a pure white top where your image sits.
On the second floor of Nissan Crossing, the car maker’s glitzy showroom in Ginza, you’ll find a café that serves up high-tech milk foam designs. Go for the ‘Macchi-Art’ option and you can choose to have a Nissan car model or a portrait of yourself on your milky drink (hot ¥400, iced ¥500). For the latter, the staff will take a photo of you with a tablet that’s connected to a special printer whose cartridge is filled with edible ink. It will then ‘print’ the image directly onto the steamed milk (or whipped cream if it’s a cold drink).
You'll find it difficult to drink Ballon D’essai’s caffe latte – but this has nothing to do with the taste. The coffee here is a secret blend of five beans, with a smooth flavour and a small amount of bitterness. It’s a delicate balance of milk and coffee that has just the right amount of kick. However, what makes it so hard to drink is the idea of disfiguring the adorable artwork that adorn its surface.