Cookbook Review: Coffee Art by Dhan Tamang

It can be so confusing. I am in my local coffee shop with a deep need for caffeine. I need to lug a jug back to the office and get going. I am nudgy and impatient.

And yet, there is the barista creating art in the foam on the top of my drink. Do I tell him to knock it off and let me be? Or, do I ask him, “How the hell did you learn to do that.” Actually, yes, how do they do that.

The book cover here displays “The Dragon.” And at the bottom of this post is “The Tudor Rose.” It’s art. It’s coffee art. And it’s all described here in Coffee Art by Dhan Tamang. Dhan is skilled and swift. He’s won the UK Latte Art Championship five times and, based on this book, you can imagine him winning again and again.

You are shown multiple techniques for fashioning the art. Free Pouring is just that, careful pouring of your milk on top of the coffee. It requires dual control: volume and direction. Some practice is necessary. And surely a steady hand, which means you’ll need to have coffeed-up before you begin. Ideas here are flowers, plants, animals and more. You can enjoy that Tudor Rose or a Butterfly.

Other techniques include Pouring and Etching, where a complicated pour is accented by deftly stroking through the milk. Or you can use Stencils to create faces, geometric shapes, or very realistic birds.

Dhan’s art can be more than surface deep. In the chapter 3D Art you make mounds of the steamed milk and then fashion bears, pigs, bunnies and flowers. Mastering this chapter will take time because time is something you don’t have here. Those mounds of steamed milk will begin to wander on you quickly, so your art skills must be honed to be both graceful and swift. Again, some coffee help may speed you along.

There are over fifty designs here, a few I hope are easy and some that I think are going to be quite challenging. I’m sure to make mistakes, but I have the perfect out: I’m just going to say that my “failure” is actually a Jackson Pollock. That’ll fool my wife. Maybe.

For more cookbook reviews and thousands of recipes, please visit Cooking by the Book. You’ll discover how we do Culinary Team Building for corporate teams!

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.