Daniel Gerlach and his creations have long transcended the traditional artist's canvas – the barista of coffee company Albert Karl oHG uses the foamy surfaces of his cappuccinos and cafe lattes to depict hearts, swans and coconuts.
The 27-year-old is Germany's newly crowned German Latte Art Champion 2015 – and soon, he will be going to Shanghai, China to compete for the world cup.
The 2016 World Latte Art Championship runs from March 29th to April 1st, hosting the top virtuosos of the coffee craft.
The German is hoping to go far with his signature image of a mirrored swan, which has so far earned him the the Bundesrepublik's national title and the nick name “Swan King”.
Click here to see how he does it:
With his role model, German 2014 world champion and latte-legend Christian Ullrich, on his mind, Gerlach “will only be satisfied” if he makes it to the finals, he told DPA. But no more than six of the competitors from all over the world go through to the second round.
His greatest rival may be a British coffee craftsman – Dhan Tamang is hot on his heels, having won the UK Latte Art Championship every year since 2013.
But the German is putting himself through barista boot camp to achieve his dream, spending several hours a day crushing beans and trickling liquids.
And his passion's got a price: besides his €12,000 espresso machine, he has got through 150 litres of milk within the first two weeks of training.
A man and his coffee; Photo: DPA
“Without coffee, my engines don't get going”
Despite his artistry, Daniel Gerlach wasn't always the latte-lover he is now.
At the age of 18, he finished his training as a chef in Würzburg, Northern Bavaria. He then discovered his coffee fervour working at a Swiss restaurant, wound up as a barista in Würzburg – and the rest is history.
Today, his flame for the hot drink flares stronger than ever:
“Without coffee, my engines don't get going,” he says.
And Gerland is not alone.
Coffee has overtaken beer as German citizens' favourite beverage. On average, every German consumed 162 liters of the brown liquid in 2014, according to the German Ministry of Nutrition.
By now though, cappuccino, decaf and Co. are about more than just consumption. “Coffee used to be a hot drink, today it is a lifestyle,” says Holger Preibisch, chief executive of the German Coffee Association.
To Gerlach, the magic of his job is that “you can create something beautiful from only two foods – coffee and milk.”
He teaches his admirers how to do so during three to four hour sessions at €139 a course.
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