Art in a Cup: Sip and Savor at Tokyo’s Hat Coffee
I was a doubter. Sure, I saw a thousand photos of three-dimensional artwork painted into foamed milk atop lattes on Instagram, but I somehow thought they were exaggerated or doctored. So to check out the latte art phenomenon, I headed to Hat Coffee in the Asakusa region of Tokyo.
There are so many latte art options in Japan and I haven’t visited them all. But what I can tell you is that the artists at work are doing incredible things with steamed milk. In general these cafes are small. Hat Coffee, for example, seats maybe 20 people at a time. So you’ve got to make a reservation. Don’t plan to just show up to a latte art shop and expect an easy wait.
Latte art comes in two forms: 2D and 3D. The 2D option can be painted onto a latte, milk tea, hot chocolate or similar. A layer of foamed milk is poured on the top of your drink and an artist uses a variety of small tools (toothpicks, brushes) dipped in a dark sugar syrup to make the lines. Two-dimensional artwork can be cheaper than 3D at some establishments, but expect to pay under 1200 JPY for either. Two-dimensional designs might be the Tokyo Tower, the Statue of Liberty, your portrait or your favorite dog. Please take a picture with you (mobile phone will do). The artist can produce a 2D latte art in just two minutes, but you’ll be amazed by the artistry.
Three-dimensional latte art works great for hot drinks, and not so well for cold drinks. Heaping piles of steamed milk are layered above the rim of your mug and the artist uses two spoons (or similar) to give the lump a general shape. Then s/he paints the image onto the foam. Don’t expect an Eiffel Tower, but 3D designs like cats, anime characters, and whimsical creations look the best.
Latte art joints tend to require guests to purchase an item or two each. It’s not acceptable to just go to watch. But that said, if you are a paying customer, don’t feel timid to ask to watch the artist work on your art. It’s fascinating to watch foam turn into a clever design.
You can see our latte art come together on TikTok
@dutchdutchgoose 🎥 Exploring Tokyo's vibrant coffee scene! ☕ At "Hat Coffee," every latte is a work of art! 🎨✨ Make a reservation and arrive early. Everythibg is delicious. Its a must visit for yiur next trip to Tokyo 😍🇯🇵 #TokyoCoffeeAdventures #LatteArt #HatCoffeeTokyo #morningcoffee #coffee #coffeetiktok #coffeetime #tokyo #japan #foodietravel #catsoftiktok ♬ Morning Coffee – Chevy & Nalba