A South Korean Barista Turns Coffee into Creamart

Cup of coffee with van Gogh's "Starry Night" painting on top

With more than 18,000 coffee shops, Seoul, South Korea has a vibrant coffee culture that makes java lovers feel right at home. Those who also enjoy art will appreciate the work of one barista, Lee Kang Bin, in particular.

Using food coloring, edible paint, an etching pen, and a spoon, he’s turned the foam of a latte into a canvas, recreating works like Edgar Degas’ “The Star” and Edvard Munch’s “The Scream.”

While latte art involves making designs on top of the froth with white cream, Lee has coined his own term to describe his creations.

“I always wanted to give new memories to my customers, all while keeping my fundamentals as a barista. So, I developed this delicious and wonderful "Creamart,” Lee said.

The coffee enthusiast, who has no formal art training, says his designs have taken years and years of practice to perfect.

In addition to famous paintings, Lee’s coffee art is inspired by Disney films, flowers, characters like Snoopy and Winnie the Pooh, pop culture, and nature scenes.

His hand-painted coffees, which command close to $10.00 each, can take 15 minutes to make. Customers have requested their favorite artworks, including illustrations from books like “The Little Prince.”

According to Lee, the most requested painting is Vincent van Gogh’s “Starry Night.”

In addition to sharing his colorful creations on Instagram, where he has more than 275,000 followers, he also teaches the Creamart technique to others looking to turn a cup of joe into something beautiful.