Many baristas use their drink-making talents to decorate the top of your latte with steamed milk art. Korean barista Kangbin Lee takes this trend to the next level—beyond the typical hearts and flowers—to create highly detailed drawings he calls cremart. This unique form of latte art uses the foamy part of the drink as an unconventional canvas for portraits of Disney characters, flowers, and animals. His most impressive creation, however, is hands-down Van Gogh’s Starry Night. In recreating the masterpiece, Lee flawlessly represents the vibrant, swirling colors that have made the painting a classic—all without his coffee art becoming muddled.
So, how does Lee do it? Looking at his lattes, it’s hard not to think that it might be the work of Photoshop. But as Lee demonstrates to Coffee TV, his cremart is the real deal.
What’s most striking about the entire process is just how similar it is to a conventional painting. To begin, he starts by pouring a creamy, lightly foamy base on the top of a warm beverage. Then, with a variety of pigments, he takes small spoons and spreads the drinkable colors over the base. During this step, he uses a delicate touch and works in gentle, sweeping motions to move the pigment around but not disturb the rest of the foam. Finer details (like trees and facial expressions) are created with a thin metal stir stick. These steps are repeated until the desired image is achieve. Watch Lee work his magic in the video below.