I have been served a coffee drink with art on top a grand total of one time. It's not that I don't appreciate the artistry, I just don't drink lattes or any other froth topped wonder fuels. However, I did recently have a cortado complete with latte art while in Minneapolis. The place and the timing were so right I was enchanted to point of weighing out what exactly it would take to remain there. Relocating and finding a new job seemed like too much so I enjoyed the moment to the best of by abilities. The one thing on my mind in that moment was that coffee. Ahhhhhh, presence of mind.
Seeing a cortado offered on a menu is rare and I only know the drink from brief travels in Spain. Of the two items on my agenda while in Minneapolis, one was to go to a snobby coffee joint. I wanted to understand the hype. And it was mostly hype until I had that cortado. Strong, delicious and beautiful to look at, I "got" it. Typically a latte will be roughly eight parts steamed milk to one part espresso - pretty thin. A cortado is in the same steamed milk and coffee mix family, but a one to one ratio of milk to espresso. It's a smallish drink, but enough to get you revved while looking stylish. And, if you're lucky enough to be served by a loving barista, you get latte art.
Part of my new found love of the cortado is only loosely associated with coffee. More than anything, it is the singular focus coffee brings. Focusing and enjoying a single thing is the real pleasure, not necessarily the coffee. OK, coffee can be damn fine too.
During my travels in Minnesota I also enjoyed what was probably the worse coffee I've ever had. Thin, decaffeinated and only warm to the point where it could be sipped with a straw. But the straw sipping octogenarian company was good. I had the privilege of joining my grandmother and her friends for three o'clock coffee in their assisted living cafeteria. I listened, laughed and my fear of my grandmother in a nursing home was eased. Slightly. Later it was reported that I was such a good sport and that I was such a hit because I talked so much. I have never, ever been described as talkative. This turns out to be as rare as coffee art on top of coffee drink and just as enjoyable.