At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

What is Barista Art?

Sonal Panse
Sonal Panse

Barista art is the art of brewing up a perfect cup of barista espresso. A barista is a trained professional person skilled in making barista coffee. It takes long practice and study to perfect this technique. For these professionals, making an espresso is not just about switching on the espresso machine, but about selecting the perfect coffee beans, grinding them to just the right consistency, tamping the fresh ground coffee in just the exact manner and then brewing a barista cup in just the right way.

Selecting the coffee beans is the first step in barista art. Coffee beans come from different parts of the world and these different varieties have distinctly different flavors. It takes an experienced, discerning palate to appreciate these differences. Most baristas have their own informed preferences, often showing a partiality for beans from one particular region or the other. Fresh coffee beans are selected and roasted to a dark color.

The perfect espresso is the product of barista art.
The perfect espresso is the product of barista art.

After the coffee beans have been roasted, they are ground down to a very fine consistency. Different flavors of beans may be ground together to create special blends. Knowing which varieties will go well together again requires an in depth knowledge about coffee bean varieties. The grinding is carried out in a special coffee grinder; many coffee grinders have a setting display so it is possible to grind the beans to the correct range.

Espresso is traditionally served in small, demitasse-style cups.
Espresso is traditionally served in small, demitasse-style cups.

Now the finely ground coffee is ready to be brewed. The grounds are tamped compact into the brew basket and run through the espresso machine. There are different kinds of espresso machines and they do make a big difference in the final taste of the brewed espresso. Espresso enthusiasts often tend to devise their own brewing procedures with their espresso machines, by adjusting brewing pressure and brewing temperature.

Experiments in barista art have led to the brewing of frothy barista espresso, barista lavazza, foamy top cappuccino and creamy lattes. Latte art patterns are a highly popular form of barista art. Skilled baristas, with a deft flick of the wrist, can create faces, leaf patterns, fruit shapes, hearts and other designs on the latte surface. This is a skill that can be acquired only after several months of regular practice.

The popularity of barista art around the world is self-evident in the growing number of barista outlets. Many cities have a barista day to honor barista art and organize brewing competitions and tasting sessions. There is even a barista magazine to keep coffee lovers updated on the happenings in the espresso world.

Discussion Comments


I am amazed at some of the barista latte art that I have seen pictures of online. They can makes faces that actually look like who they are supposed to. How you can draw an accurate picture of Abraham Lincoln with coffee and milk is a mystery to me.


Is there such a thing as barista school? I have some experience, but I am thinking of opening my own coffee shop and I would like to try to do something that is fancier and more ambitious than anything they have around here.

I know that to do that I will need to learn new techniques and get better at the ones I already know. Where can I get training to hone my craft?


If there is any question of whether or not a barista is actually an artist you only need to go to a coffee shop that has a bad one. A good coffee drink can be a divine experience. A bad coffee drink an be undrinkable, or at least hard to swallow.

It takes a lot of practice and study and respect for the coffee beans to be a really good barista. And the best ones are as much concerned with presentation as flavor. We are getting to a point where we can honestly call some coffee gourmet.

Post your comments
Forgot password?
    • The perfect espresso is the product of barista art.
      By: Alessandro Capuzzo
      The perfect espresso is the product of barista art.
    • Espresso is traditionally served in small, demitasse-style cups.
      By: pressmaster
      Espresso is traditionally served in small, demitasse-style cups.