E D W A R D G R I F F I N
: Latte Artist, Barista Extraordinaire
I first encountered Edward and his endless talents when I was preparing to do a shoot at PT's Coffee in Topeka, Kansas. Edward was charismatic, magnetic, and just joyful. Truly joyful. After enjoying the best chai latte I have ever had, I knew that I would undoubtedly be frequenting this place. Each and every time that I have been in PT's, there is Edward- just radiating...taking pride in each and every drink he prepares. It occurred to me while observing him interacting with a customer, that he is an artist. A remarkable artist...and that is why I found him to be so magnetic. Of course, his cheery disposition and wonderful smile helped as well...but I was captivated and observing him felt like a privilege. It is the way I feel anytime I am watching an artist do their thing...honored.
When Edward agreed to allow me to feature him for the month of May, I was elated! I planned to do a quick shoot of him in his element, and get to know this incredible guy...he had something much different up his sleeve. He hopped in the car, and asked if we could make a stop for milk- curious, I agreed. He then proceeded to give me a peek into the brilliant mind he has hidden under all that hair...and in that moment, I understood why this guy was so radiant in everything that he does...its because he's such an extraordinary soul that it can't help but to seep into everything he does. Edward has a wisdom about him that you rarely see...he's an old soul. A passionate old soul.
Edward took me to PT's headquarters and I had the privilege of an inside look at how they do everything...he educated me on everything from how they select the beans, where they source them from...I learned the company history...theories about flavoring, and details that you would never imagine playing a role in the delicious product that is PT's Coffee. He even taught me how to make my very own latte art! I had the most fun, and I am so blown away by both Edward, and the incredible company he works for.
I sent Edward a series of questions to answer, and below are his responses.
"To me, freepour latte art is a meaningful way of combining well prepared espresso and steamed milk to not only reflect on quality of taste, but to do so by providing something that is aesthetically pleasing and adds value to what is already there, a delicious cup of coffee.
I’ve been in love with latte art for 3-4 years now since a little while after I first started working in coffee."
When asked how his work makes him feel, he responded...
"Joyful. Being able to exude compassion in a setting where it is so so welcome and in a society where it is not so often casually given or received makes me happy beyond description. A smile, a warm welcome, banter laced with humor or sarcasm, or legitimate deep conversation, these are all things that can be exchanged under the pretense of serving amazingly delicious and beautiful coffee. These are all things that are necessary for any humans wellbeing, and I am happy to play a positive role in the lives of others as they do for me."
"I suppose what has so strongly drawn me to latte art is that I don’t view it as an art form where there is cut and dry good or bad art, but rather an art form where there is always room to grow on a very personal level and understand it in your own way. Ultimately I always want to improve because the superficial appearance of coffee is the characteristic upon which people first judge it, and I enjoy the happiness visible on one’s face and in their demeanor when they’re greeted with a beautiful cup of cafe latte.
If I could communicate just one thing to the whole world it would be very simple and maybe cliche, but be kind.
I don’t hope to go anywhere in particular, rather I’m content seeing where it takes me.
Be yourself :)"