Coffee art: Taiwan barista draws pooch portraits

KAOHSIUNG (Reuters) - Armed with a picture of your pet pooch, barista Chang Kuei-fang only needs 10 minutes to reproduce the image in a frothy 3-D work of coffee art.

Chang uses brushes and coloring made of espresso, chocolate or fruit jam to illustrate the figures she creates from steamed milk spooned on top of espresso shots.

Crafting a 3-D image from milk foam was the biggest challenge for Chang, who works at the “My Cofi” cafe in the Taiwanese port city of Kaohsiung.

“The hard thing is to control the milk froth,” she told Reuters Television.

“So I came up with a way to express their charm,” she added, referring to customers’ pets. “I stack up milk froth to create a feeling of layers.”

Depending on the degree of difficulty and ingredients, one carefully-sculpted cup of foamy art can cost up to 700 Taiwanese dollars ($23).

Chang first ventured into latte art after starting as a coffee street vendor in 2003. She opened the cafe in 2011.

Customers are willing to let the pricey coffee go cold while they snap pictures of the fleeting artwork.

“We have been taking pictures for one hour now, but are still reluctant to start drinking,” said Amy Li, who was meeting high school friends on a trip from Taipei.

Chang also draws portraits of customers and cartoon characters.

“It is very cute and also makes us look younger. Makes us look more beautiful”, said Hsu Lin-yun, one of the customers.

Reporting by Fabian Hamacher, Writing by Karishma Singh