Japanese barista Ito Yuichi at Belcorno, an Italian restaurant in Aichi Prefecture, is probably the best latte artist you'll ever see, or at least specializing in turning froth into art. Latte art developed independently in different countries, following the introduction of espresso and the development of microfoam, the combination of crema and microfoam allowing the pattern; it presumably was initially developed in Italy. Continue reading for more. In the United States, latte art was developed in Seattle in the 1980s and 1990s, and particularly popularized by David Schomer
Latte art is a mixture of two colloids: the crema, which is an emulsion of coffee oil and brewed coffee; and the microfoam, which is a foam of air in milk. Milk itself is an emulsion of butterfat in water, while coffee is a mixture of coffee solids in water. Neither of these colloids are stable - crema dissipates from espresso, while microfoam separates into drier foam and liquid milk - both degrading significantly in a matter of minutes, and thus latte art lasts only briefly.