If you ask a barista...
latte art isn't just an art, it's a lifestyle. It's also the quickest way to break a barista's heart, just stir it up right in front of them. As you become more and more versed in specialty coffee culture it becomes clear that the skill of steaming and pouring velvety milk in a variety of patterns is a kind of a big deal. There are companies and celebrities that are in it purely for the pour. The aesthetics are of course the major draw, but it is a way of displaying properly textured milk and barista skill. But a little while back, Barista Hustle posed the question, "Does Latte Art Make Coffee Taste Worse"?
The study itself was short and sweet, but the gist of the whole idea is latte art may actually make your coffee taste worse. To put this to the test, all you need to do is stir it. Tasting both stirred and unstirred side-by-side presented some interesting results. As much as I enjoyed this thought provoking, and somewhat upsetting study I felt like it could go just a bit further. Taste is of course the main component, but as a sensory experience mouthfeel and aroma also play a role, as well as your personal perceptions. The idea of "eating with your eyes" is a real phenomenon, so I wanted to put all this to the test with a panel of folks of varied coffee expertise.
So thanks to the generosity of the one-and-only Mr. James Alexander Hoffmann, I was finally able to put together my most ambitious video production yet, so hit play on that video above and let's get to testing.