Doodles of the sunrise over Alfama, scrawled sketches of the Eiffel Tower… my Travel Edits notebooks are filled with scraps of paper and half-finished drawings scribbled onto the back of old airline tickets. You might describe their style as ‘fluid’, but in all my travels, I’ve never considered ditching good old fashioned paper for a canvass of coffee or throwing away my pen for a pitcher of milk.
Until this weekend. On Saturday I got to try out my coffee drawing skills during a latte art demonstration at Dublin’s Coffee & Tea Festival 2015. With the baristas from Butler’s Café on Liffey Street and Joe’s Café in Arnotts on hand what could possibly go wrong?
The lesson kicked off with the experts showcasing their amazing creative talents. A swish here, a flick there and within seconds there were monkeys, roses, bears and tulips crowning the freshly brewed cups of coffee. And then it was my turn.
Latte Art 101
We were given the option of three designs to recreate. Armed with a cup of latte and a small pitcher of milk, I went for a simple heart shape.
Following the advice from the earlier demonstration, I started by holding the milk pitcher close to the top of the cup and adding a little milk from the same spot.
Next, I raised the pitcher an inch or two away from the cup and tilted the milk in a circular motion around the cup – moving the pitcher only, not the cup.
Continuing to hold the milk pitcher in the same spot, I tilted the pitcher back and forth to make a circle. Lastly, when almost all of the milk was poured, I pulled the pitcher back upright to put the final touch to the design.
Ta-da: My not-too-shabby attempts at latte art…
Five Elephant Coffee
The Coffee and Tea Festival drew speakers from all over the world, including Patric Rolf from Five Elephant Roastery and Cake Shop in Berlin.
Patric explained the special science behind the roasting process, from visiting the coffee plantation in Guatemala to the tasting stage and how every little step of this journey impacts the overall flavour of their coffee.
It was clear from Patric’s presentation that he lives and breathes coffee and his passion had taken him all over the world, including Kenya, Ethiopia, El Salvador and Guatemala. Inspiring stuff!
Mrs Doyle’s Tea
One of my favourite stalls (and stories) from the festival was Mrs Doyle’s Tea. The business originally started out life as a fundraising initiative for UNICEF at The Electric Picnic, Ireland’s biggest music festival.
Borrowing their name from Father Ted’s beloved housekeeper (and infamous tea pusher), the company is going from strength to strength. With blends with names like “happy tea”, “dreamy tea” and “hangover tea”, it didn’t take one “go on” of encouragement to try their delicious herbal offerings.
If you’re curious to sample a quirky brew for yourself, Mrs Doyle has her very own tea shop online where you can order classic and special varieties. Check it out – MrsDoylesTea.co.uk.
About the author: Fiona Hilliard is a popular Irish travel blogger and owner of Travel Edits where she shares her travel stories from around Ireland and beyond.