• FREE SHIPPING from $50
  • BLOG
  • Save 30% on Premium Compatible Coffee Capsules for Nespresso®* Machines
  • Log in
  • Fairtrade Certified
    Coffee Capsules
  •  

Coffee Art

  • Coffee Table Books

    Coffee table books are always beautiful and often inspiring, so how did such a delightful idea make its way to our tables? The coffee table book may have been invented by David Brower an environmentalist who served as the president of the Sierra Club. He had an idea to produce books that contained color plates from nature photographers. He wanted the pages big to show off the beauty of the images. The idea for coffee table books goes back further though, when French philosopher Michel de Montaigne bemoaned the use of his essays as a windowsill dressing for women. De Montaigne's work could be considered the first of the coffee table books.

    Coffee Table Books More than just a book on your coffee table. Photo: Sarah Sphar

    What Is a Coffee Table Book?

    Origins of the idea aside, coffee table books are delightful additions to the ambiance of our homes. The books add a warm and welcoming look to our rooms and they add a finished look to a well-done design. There is a volume to prick the interest of everyone. Beautifully rendered with large color plates on fine paper the books are oversized and heavy, and the bindings are works of art. Many of these large beauties contain bits of informative text or thoughtful verses to accompany the photographs. A host or hostess will never lack for topics of conversation with a coffee table book at their fingertips.

    Well known organizations and single authors alike produce some of the best known titles and editions of great coffee table books. For instance, the National Geographic publishes very attractive tabletop offerings of charming wildlife and breathtaking landscapes. Life Magazine published its 70 years of Extraordinary Photography in a coffee table books format, and it touches on some very controversial topics. The Guggenheim Foundation funded Robert Frank's trip across the United States to photograph the feel of the United States during the 1950s, and the resulting book 'The American's' was first published in France. The Abbeville Press publishes several books devoted to Norman Rockwell's Saturday Evening Post cover paintings. Other offerings include a work by Madonna, entitled “Sex.” On the day of its release it sold 150,000 copies, and it was published by Warner Books. It sells for a whopping $95.00, but beware this jewel of coffee table books when you display it, the content is adult only.

    Work of Art

    $95.00 may seem high for a book, but many coffee table books sell for quite a bit more. A book “Michelangelo: La Dotta Mano” sold for $126,864. This handmade rendering weighs 61 pounds, and it was made in Italy. It has 264 pages, and on the cover in white marble is a relief of Michelangelo's Madonna. The bindings are of red velvet, and hand crafted by the same people that made the stage curtains for La Scala. Inside is the real treasure with color plates of the Sistine Chapel on pages of paper made from 100% cotton. There were only 99 copies planned for this exquisite work, and donations have been made to the Prado Museum in Madrid where it is displayed beside the original Gutenberg Bible. Admirers of La Dotta Mano are traveling from all over the world to view the rare piece.

    More Coffee Table Book Art

    Another book of art is called “The Art Book.” This colorful publication is only $8.94 in hardcover, but it is a little gem among coffee table books. The Phaidon Press published the work, and it took the book of the year award in 1994. Inside are illustrations of over 500 famous masters, encompassing works from the Middle Ages to present day paintings and sculptures. It is touted as a complete history of art complete with illuminated copy on each piece depicted within. It weighs 4.4 pounds and has 505 pages and its colorful binding is an eye catcher. The book is engaging, and it is a struggle to put down once picked up.

    Something for Everyone

    There are coffee table books to suit everyone's taste and pocketbook. From history to dogs, and from art to sex, these coffee table books add flavor and sophistication to your home and your conversations. No home is complete without one to peruse while sipping your favorite Gourmesso coffee. Add one or more to your collection of coffee table books today, and your family and guests will thank you.

    read more
  • Latte Art

    You may be familiar with latte art: It's the very cool way that your barista pours steamed milk into your morning shot of espresso, creating those amazing designs. Some mornings perhaps you get a heart, others a tree, an owl, or a bear. This art form, which actually began back in the 1980s, has come a long way. Today there are competitions for latte art. That's right! It's not just for morning entertainment anymore.

    Latte Art Coffee Art Photo: Hiroyuki Takeda

    How Latte Art Is Created

    To get latte art, the conditions must be just right, and those conditions are very demanding. It's why a barista can oftentimes never repeat a creation twice; the pour is really the challenge.

    Basically, it all comes down to science, and chemistry. Latte art combines the crema, or the emulsion of the coffee oil and brewed coffee, along with the foam of the air in milk (also known as microfoam). Because neither of these is stable and both will actually degrade rapidly, the latte art will only last for a few minutes. Alas, the artist's work is fleeting.

    Just Right

    As Godilocks said, everything must be just right: to get your latte art perfect, you must check that the espresso has a light brown color to its surface. When the white foam from the milk rises to the meet the surface of the espresso shot, this is when your design will emerge. The foam will separate from the liquid and rise to the top as you pour the milk. If you have everything just right, you can create your latte art on the surface. Or, you may choose to create the pattern with a stick after you have poured the milk.

    If you are just starting out with latte art, there is a bit more advice out there from the pros. They say that you should also make sure to pour in the center of your cup, especially if you are using a small cup. You can rest your pitcher on the edge of the cup for control; never pour the cup more than 3/4 full when you begin, as you will need to 'shake' the pitcher a bit to give your design a bit of form and you don't want to spill the coffee.

    As you continue the shake, you will want to continue to pour into the center of the coffee. Make sure to move slowly, or you will rush your design. Slow and steady wins the race!

    And finally, remember that practice makes perfect. Every barista, and every entrant into one of the latte art competitions, will tell you that you simply must practice, practice, practice in order to become good at this art form. Baristas pour literally hundreds of lattes a day, and that's how they get great at this.

    The Competitions

    Latte art competitions are very real and they are popping up everywhere. These include the U.S. Latte Art Championship, the World Latte Art Championship, and the Coffee Fest Latte Art Championship among others.

    Latte Art Championship Latte Art World Championship 2013 Photo: GoToVan

    The World Latte Art Championship is the holy grail of latte art competitions. It is one of the most photographed competitions in the World Coffee Events portfolio, and for good reason. Each year, the World Latte Art Championship highlights the creative expression of competitors in this new art form in a competitive platform that challenges them in a demanding performance. They must prepare their coffees, their designs, right before the judges. No pressure!

    During the competition, the contestants are judged on their creativity, identical patterns, contrast in patterns, visual attributes and overall performance.

    There are three rounds, and contestants are judged on both free pours and patterned drinks. There are time limits as well. /p>

    The top scoring barista in the final round is the champion.

    Ready to enter your artwork? Start practicing your pours with Gourmesso Coffee for next year's championship!

    read more

2 Item(s)