KAOHSIUNG, Taiwan – Customers at the My Cofi cafe in southern Taiwan’s Kaohsiung city can order the typical milk art on their lattes, but owner Chang Kuei-fang makes ferns and four-leaf clovers look like mere froth.
Chang has become famous among cafe-goers in East Asia for the 3D shapes of animals, cartoon characters and insects she crafts from milk foam and other natural ingredients.
She starts with the cup of coffee and after placing a dollop of milk foam on top, uses spoons to form it into the shape of the image the customers have given her on their mobile phones.
With the photo on the phone beside her in her kitchen, she wields a thin metal utensil and uses espresso or chocolate as ink to draw the creature, like a cat or a cockroach.
The hard part, she said, is getting the timing right as it can be a challenge to make the foam stand up properly during the 5-10 minutes it takes to make most 3D creations.
When drawing some creatures like teddy bears or mice, she uses strawberry jam to add color.
The price for a 3D foam latte depends on the complexity of the requested creation, with a cat or mouse shape going for 250 Taiwan dollars ($8.28) and custom-made shapes like insects going for more (as much as $20).
Chang sells a regular cup of coffee for $4.
Customers find her work exciting and even therapeutic, as she explained that a woman once brought in a photo of her dog that had died, and Chang made her a 3D foam formation to help the woman preserve the memory of her late canine friend.
The cafe owner has been working in the coffee business for 14 years and for the last six has focused on her specialty of 3D foam latte creations.