Cream, sugar and a custom portrait: Michael Breach uses creativity for latte art

By Bridget Ekis

Michael Breach can turn foam into faces within a matter of minutes. Based in New York, he is a latte artist whose work ranges from marriage proposals and gender reveals to working with clients such asDisney.

After meeting corporate executives at Dunkin’ Donuts, Breach was invited to collaborate with the company in Chicago to launch its new espresso campaign.

The Chronicle spoke with Breach about the start of his creative career, his most memorable design and his creative process.

Breach designed latte portraits Nov. 28 at Dunkin’ Donuts, 600 S. Wabash Ave. To see a video of the event, visit ColumbiaChronicle.com/Multimedia.

THE CHRONICLE: How did you get started making latte art?

MICHAEL BREACH: I’ve always been an artist. I worked with coffee for a long time when I was younger; I got into learning regular latte designs, such as hearts and rosettas. I still can do all of that stuff, but what I really wanted to do was challenge the medium itself and challenge myself in the process. I was constantly coming up with more complex designs just because I ran out of designs online. Once I realized I was able to actually draw in the foam, I was like, “I’m already good at drawing, and this is something I can actually do—why don’t I get into this?”

THE CHRONICLE: At what point did you decide todo this full-time and make it sustainable for yourself?

I started doing this at a point when social media was still very much in its infancy, and people didn’t really know what to do with it. I was putting this art out there, and people were really liking it. I ended up gaining 20,000 followers in like a week or so; I ended up getting emails for going on Good Morning America and The Today Show. That’s when I realized it was legit because I was going on these major press outlets, and I was getting all these articles written about me; I was all over the news. I wasn’t getting paid to do any of that. It took about a year or two after that for someone to actually be like, “Oh, we found this guy,” and it was this brand in Australia. They hired me and flew me out there for about two weeks; after that two weeks, I came home, and I quit my job.

What is the most memorable latte you’ve made?

I did one for someone who was

doing a wedding proposal, and I wrote it out for them—to me that was one of the most meaningful. Somebody wanted a gender reveal once.It’s not about the actual art piece, but it’s about a time and place I was in.

How do you come up with your designs?

I did a very very quick stint decorating cakes back in 2008, so I ended up using a lot of different things you’d find in a cake store or bakery store or some of the food colors and random edible things like sprinkles. I started incorporating those into the latte art. I’m always trying to innovate and think of new things and one up myself, it’s not the coffee for why I don’t sleep at night it’s because I’m constantly thinking about new things I could be doing and this was one of them.

Why Chicago and Dunkin’ Donuts? How did this all come together?

I’ve been waiting for a brand that I like and stand behind—I actually like their coffee. I’m not just going to do something I don’t like. The way I found them was actually through an event. No matter what event I do whenI’m doing my work—big or small—I treat each one like it’s like the most important event I’ve ever done because you never know who’s going to be there.

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