The barista’s latte art designs are popular worldwide.
Art was only a hobby for Lee Kang-bin before he became a barista. Five years ago, he combined the arts of coffee-making and painting, and now his colorful caffeinated artworks attract hundreds of customers into Cafe C.through in Seoul, Korea, every day.
Always starting with cold Dutch coffee for his “cream art,” Lee pours cold milk and foam on top before adding vibrant colors with cream, syrups, chocolate sauce, and fruit flakes. The barista has a large following on Instagram for his re-creations of famous paintings, from Vincent van Gogh’s The Starry Night to Edvard Munch’s The Scream, as well as his beautiful nature scenes and even popular cartoon characters.
We caught up with the busy barista for a peek into his artistic journey with coffee.
When did you start making latte art, and how did you develop your skills?
From the moment I started making coffee, I thought of the process as art. My latte art started by accident about five years ago, and I enjoyed it so much that my skills improved.
What are the greatest rewards of your work?
To see that the customer is happy.
What’s one truth you’ve learned as an artist?
Art is everywhere, and I can feel it everywhere.
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Is there anything else you’d like readers to know?
I think art is happiness. Don’t think of art as hard. It’s your art if you find happiness around you.
You can keep up with Lee Kang-bin’s amazing art on Instagram. If you’re interested in learning latte art at home, check out his YouTube channel. And if you’re in Seoul, Korea, be sure to stop by for a latte at Cafe C.through. Note: Some cream art designs are by reservation only, so you might want to plan ahead!