Coffee Bar barista Nicolas Lawson (Photo: Rachael Myrow, KQED)

As you may have heard on today’s California Report, sixty-four baristas from around the world have descended on San Diego to compete in the Coffee Fest Latte Art Championship, where each is given three minutes to produce a latte so visually compelling that only a philistine would actually put lips to liquid in a misguided attempt to drink it.

The criteria:

  • Aesthetic Beauty
  • Definition
  • Color Infusion
  • Degree of Difficulty and Creativity
  • Speed

Locally, we’ve got three horses in this race:

Nicolas Lawson, The Coffee Bar
Joshua Li, Café Bello
Dennis Medina, Dolores Park Café

Too pretty to drink?

Hyper-locally, The Coffee Bar is just down the block from KQED, where early-morning news department personnel have been known to imbibe a triple macchiato or three. Rather than recuse ourselves, however, we’ll just issue the disclaimer that no espresso was exchanged in the following interview between The California Report’s Rachael Myrow and Coffee Bar barista Nicolas Lawson. (As for madeleines or biscotti, I can’t say.)

Nicolas Lawson on when he started getting fancy with his lattes

On barista certification

On competitions for baristas

On how much coffee he drinks on-the-job and the coffee biz

Some videos on the latte competition and the coffee arts…

Interview With a Barista: Latte Art and the Coffee Biz 3 June,2011Jon Brooks


Jon Brooks

Jon Brooks is the host and editor of KQED’s health and technology blog, Future of You. He is the former editor of KQED’s daily news blog, News Fix. A veteran blogger, he previously worked for Yahoo! in various news writing and editing roles. He was also the editor of, which documented user-generated content about the financial crisis and recession. Jon is also a playwright whose work has been produced in San Francisco, New York, Italy, and around the U.S. He has written about film for his own blog and studied film at Boston University. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College.

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