latte art
n. A decorative image created by skillfully pouring steamed milk into an espresso.
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Lively competition in the coffee tasting and latte art competitions stirs the most applause. Several baristas making latte art are almost undone by nervous, shaking hands. Some people in the crowd find their avant-garde creations equally challenging, among them milk foam depictions of Batman, a redback spider and a perplexing "peacock on fire".
—Peter Munro, “The coffee wars,” The Courier, March 05, 2013
I try a few times. I make water-thin milk, poured over bitter shots. Finally, I get the milk consistency right, like wet paint. I try a little latte art. It looks like mating amoebas.
—Matt Richtel, “Learning to Create the Perfect Cup of Coffee,” The New York Times, December 31, 2012
1998 (earliest)
In the Seattle Weekly's annual readers' poll, there is an award for best latte art ("and if you have to ask what latte art is, you've never ordered a double tall with extra foam").
—Tony Kelly, “No wonder they're sleepless in Seattle,” The Independent, April 19, 1998