At what appear to be the Taiwanese equivalent of the coffee kiosk at a 7/11, coffee drinkers can get something they can’t get at any of the finest third-wave coffee shops in all of Seattle, Brooklyn, Chicago, or Portland. The mini-chain, called Let’s Cafe, lets you print your own face onto the foam of a latte.
True latte art is made by the careful pouring of steamed milk through the top layer of foam on a shot of espresso. That foam in turn is the result of water being forced through packed ground coffee at high pressures. (For more on how espresso is made, check out our explainer.)
This isn’t latte art in that sense. Instead, the printer takes a photo you’ve taken and sent to it through your phone, and spits out a pattern of cocoa powder or coffee powder (presumably instant coffee of some sort, since finely ground coffee isn’t usually eaten/drunk) on top of the foam. It’s a way for Let’s Cafe to differentiate themselves from all the other coffee-slingers around–none of them will print your photo on a latte. Some might argue that that’s because nobody particularly wants to drink their own face or the face of a loved one. Not me though. I’m thinking positive. Cool printer, cool coffee.