Dubai's baristas show off their latte art skills

It takes precision, finesse and attention to detail to create spectacular-looking foam

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For some artists the medium is paint. For others it's ceramic, glass or even textiles. For the baristas of Dubai, it's steamed milk.

At the city's artisanal coffee houses, there are countless men and women showing off their art via foam.

A good latte can be so easy to drink, but a real challenge to create.

The milk needs to be the perfect temperature and without too much or too little air, while over or underfilling the pitcher can throw off the entire flow.

Like a magician, the budding barista needs to position his wand correctly, then the pour should hit dead centre.

You can't just make it up as you go along – you need to have a vision for your art, or at least you do until you're a pro, like one of these men.

Thamsanqa 'Groove' Zulu, 28, pictured above, is a latte artist from South Africa who works at Nightjar Coffee in Al Quoz, Dubai.

"If l don’t steam my milk properly, it’s always tricky to create latte art," he says while demonstrating his skills, using a thin pencil to produce a nifty British bulldog design, followed by other animal shapes, from a cat to a snake.

Jacob Mariano, 33, works with Zulu at Nightjar Coffee, a roastery and restaurant in Alserkal Avenue near to vegan cafe Wild & The Moon, Cinema Akil and art hub Custot Gallery Dubai.

He shows us how to steam the milk to create the velvety consistency of a latte.

Mariano has perfected his technique, pouring from the ideal height, tipping the cup at the exact angle and then cutting off his pour just right to create a sharply focused, beautiful flower.

Also in Al Quoz is Raw Coffee, where you'll find latte artist Rajesh Shahi, 28, from Nepal. He and his colleagues provide freshly roasted, ethically sourced specialty coffee across the Emirates and the Gulf.

"Pouring latte art is my passion," Shahi tells The National. "When I am creating my latte art my passion flows together with the milk and I create some beautiful designs in my cup."

On Al Wasl Road in Jumeirah 2, there's Late Lounge, where Idricia Nakahosa Nanimozuela, 31, works.

He moved to Dubai from Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to perfect his latte art skills.

With sharp focus, Nanimozuela creates a rabbit and a cat out of foam while we watch, using a stick for a greater level of finesse, precision and detail.

Nanimozuela later tells The National his most complex work yet has been a fist in the foam. "I wanted to make something special, something that means a lot to me, something that means power," he said of his inspiration.

Updated: February 18, 2022, 6:01 PM