Latte art is next level
Baristas in America pride themselves on perfecting geometric milk patterns like hearts, rosettas, and tulips, which, real talk, all look basically the same. The Japanese have taken latte art to surrealist dimensions and the superstar of the genre is Kazuki Yamamoto, whose 174k Twitter followers eagerly await photos of 3D foam creations that run the gamut of everything from astronauts, to video game characters, to memorials of the Paris attacks.
Specialty coffee has also copied the siphon
One of the flashiest coffee-brewing techniques is the siphon, a tall glass contraption where water is boiled over an open flame and forced through coffee grounds, then drips back into a beaker. Its inefficiency has made it a rarity in the States, but specialty shops are starting to offer them to customers wowed by the spectacle. Since Japan places such heavy emphasis on the barista as a master craftsman, more meticulous preparations like the siphon are very popular, to the point where the brewing style has developed its own national competitions.
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Dan Gentile is a staff writer at Thrillist. He very badly wants to visit Japan. Follow him to waiting patiently for an invitation at @Dannosphere.