Latte artist serves up steaming hot cup of Steve Jobs

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Steve Jobs appears from a swirl of milk and coffee in latte art by Kohei Matsuno.
Steve Jobs appears from a swirl of milk and coffee in latte art by Kohei Matsuno.
Photo: Kohei Matsuno/Instagram

From opera to tattoos, Apple founder Steve Jobs is a subject for artists cross many mediums – even coffee.

Kohei Matsuno, a rising star in the latte art world (yes, that is a thing), added a dollop of foam to Jobs’ legend when he created a portrait of him using espresso, milk and a fine-pointed tool made especially for the most creative baristas.

From the swirl of coffee and stretched milk comes a familiar likeness – Jobs striking a thinking pose, hand on chin, from the iconic Albert Watson photograph – with a thought bubble that reads “iOS7.”

“I like coffee, but I also like to surprise people,” Matsuno told National Public Radio in 2013. “I like to choose things that seem improbable to find in coffee art.”

When Jobs passed away from cancer in 2011, a multitude of emotions, from sadness to inspiration, was palpable in the many moving tributes at Apple Stores and in social media. Not long after, painters and sculptors began trying to capture his innovative spirit and fans sought unique ways to honor him, especially with tattoos.

Matsuno has done hundreds of portraits, animals, and recreations of famous paintings. While many of his designs are intricately detailed, his Jobs latte is minimalist by comparison. The pose, glasses, beard and Mr. Spock eyebrows are enough to bring the Watson image of Jobs to mind, which Matsuno created in December 2013.

His fans – he has more than 80,000 followers on Twitter and more than 2,400 on Instagram – have demanded more complex creations, so Matsuno has created 3D work where the milk and foam rises from the cup to take on various shapes, from cats to an octopus.

According to Matsuno’s website, he drew his first latte art in 2009 while working at an Italian restaurant in Osaka. His popularity grew on the internet and in 2012, he held an exhibit called “Blue Sky Latte Art in Osaka. He has been the subject of numerous print and television stories and now lives in Tokyo where refines his art and travels to demonstrate at various events.

Matsuno could not be reached by Cult of Mac for comment, but its appears he uses cocoa powder and pulls it into the coffee-milk mix with his special tools. He works quickly and likely uses only whole milk, the chosen milk for “stretching” by most latte artist.

Check out the YouTube video below showing Matsuno’s magic.