I had the privilege early yesterday morning of visiting Portola Coffee Lab, OC’s hottest new coffee hang-out, to watch their baristas in action & photograph what I’d consider some of the most beautiful, detailed latte art I’ve ever seen poured.

The guys at Portola have a passion for coffee that comes across in their craft — these are no ordinary cups o’ Joe. These are truly works of art.  So beautiful, in fact, I almost felt bad for drinking it. Almost.

I liken it to the exquisite, fleeting art of Native American & Tibetan Monk Sand Paintings. Perfectly-accurate, symmetrical masterpieces that are created for the sake of the art – for healing purposes – and then almost instantly destroyed. 

Latte art takes practice. And patience. And a steady hand. I found it ironic to learn that Baristas need to be careful not to drink too much caffeine while working on their art – otherwise, they risk a case of the shakes and things can get choppy & inconsistent. So, I helped them yesterday at Portola with those extra leftover cups of caffeinated black gold …  It was a tough job, but somebody had to do it, right?

And believe me. Portola’s coffee tastes just as good as it looks.

Visit them on Facebook – or, better yet, visit the Coffee Lab in person to taste for yourself!

(A shout-out to Portola Barista, Truman Severson, who created all of the beautiful latte art in the following photos. Nice work, Truman.)