Step-by-step introduction to latte art
"IT LOOKS too good to drink" is an expression Skye Harrison and her staff at Grafton cafe The Tilted Teaspoon thrive on.
Approaching its third anniversary on October 1, the cafe is famous for its latte art, where the barista either creates a pattern pouring the milk into the espresso shot in the cup, or draws a pattern in the foam with a chocolate or caramel sauce.
But serving her coffee with artistic flair is not an end in itself.
"What we're really trying to do is make the coffee look as amazing as it tastes," she said.
After trialling a number of different coffee blends she settled on Bun Coffee from Byron Bay, which has a character she said reflects the region.
"I tried a few blends, that while they were lovely coffees, perhaps were not suited to the area," she said.
"I wanted to go with something that was smooth and bold in flavour.
"When I tried the Bun blend it was strong without that bitterness, which was exactly what I was looking for.
"Since I started serving Bun Coffee here, I've noted three other cafes in the area serving it."
Ms Harrison said there was more to serving a brilliant coffee than getting the right blend.
"It's also about the texture of the milk and how the coffee's extracted."
She said it was important to monitor the grind of the coffee all the time.
"Things like the heat and humidity coming from the kitchen area affect the grind and how it's pouring," she said.
Paying attention to the detail of making their coffees finds its natural extension into presentation.
"The younger staff hear the compliments we get, like 'it looks too good to drink' and they want to get those comments themselves," Ms Harrison said.
"I always encourage the girls here to try different things and not be too worried about making mistakes. That's the only way to learn.
Sometimes those mistakes can turn into masterpieces.
"I was trying to do a love heart in a coffee, but didn't quite get the pour right, but when I looked at it again, it was a love heart bursting out of another love heart," Ms Harrison said.
"So I sent it out and said this one was made with love."
Ms Harrison said The Tilted Teaspoon took a change of direction earlier this year, changing from a cafe into an espresso bar.
"I took over the kitchen at the start of the year and really developed a thing for baking," she said.
"Nothing goes together better than coffee and cake. So the focus is on baked goods and the coffee.
"We still serve light lunches, but we've found the change to espresso bar has evened out the business.
"We probably serve the same number of coffees, but its spread more evenly."