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When you”re feeling sluggish in the morning and you”re facing a long commute, cold weather, or the dreaded early meeting, a cup of coffee itself can seem like a work of art. But there are some coffees out there that actually look like a work of art, too. If you”re not familiar with latte art, you”re going to be pleasantly surprised.

Andrew Alcala is a barista who loves what he does. And part of what he does is craft intricate, though very temporary, works of art using the foamy steamed milk that goes into a latte. Mixed with the dark brown espresso, the results are as beautiful as they are delicious. Some of them would almost make you regret drinking the latte. Almost.

This is a classic “tulip” pattern. Latte art can also be made in hot chocolate.

Other designs are simply drawn in, a process known as “etching.”

This dragon is a combination of poured and etched latte art.

So is this one.

The Mother”s Day Latte

You”d be surprised at the level of detail milk foam affords.

Abstract patterns are always an elegant choice.

A swan.

Depending on the direction and speed of the pour, different patterns can emerge.

This snowflake pattern was completely poured in; Alcala just switched up the directions.

Hmm. Maybe this one is for the “problem” customers.

Alcala in action. By swinging the pitcher of hot milk gently back and forth, the ripple pattern is formed.

A friendly reminder. Baristas work hard, people!

These caffeinated wonders are created simply by adding milk that”s been heated to an ideal temperature (usually about 140o F) and added into espresso with a swirling pattern that results in the floral and heart shapes you see here. Details like faces and letters are added in later with a coffee stirrer.

You can check out Alcala”s latest creations on his Instagram page as well as his deviantART account. Just try not to drool all over everything when you do.

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