Art and coffee have always gone hand in hand. As well as drinking the beverage, artists can also use it in their creations.

No matter what you do with coffee, you need the right know-how. If you want to show off your individual qualities and talent, you must be familiar with all the raw materials, techniques and tools. This is just as true when it comes to Coffee Painting.

In the past, before artificial colours were invented, people used natural pigments. Some of the most widespread ones were tea and coffee. A revival of the “natural” approach is a growing trend in many fields, including creative circles: coffee is now used to stain wood, dye fabrics and paint pictures.

Coffee can produce colours ranging from hazel to dark brown, so it’s ideal for use in stunning monochrome creations.

There are two main techniques: you can either brew some coffee and utilize it like a watercolour, or you can recycle coffee grounds.

If you’d like to give it a try, here are a few tips.

Before you start, make sure you have everything you need: coffee, a soft pencil, old newspapers, blotting paper for absorbing excess coffee, at least three small empty cups or containers, brushes of various sizes, and some sheets of watercolour paper.

Coffee painting with Manuel Caffè


Spread out the newspapers on a flat surface and put a piece of watercolour paper on top of them. Fill up a cup with water and keep it close at hand. Create the colours in separate cups, pouring a small amount of coffee into each one and diluting them with different amounts of water. Use less water to get darker shades and more water to get lighter hues.

Paint the background by covering the paper with a very light shade, then gradually add drops of coffee randomly until you like the overall results. Now wait for it to dry.


Coffee painting with Manuel Caffè2


Next, draw the outlines of the shapes with the pencil and use a layering technique to show your creative side: keep adding layers until you get the desired effect. Make sure each layer dries completely before you add the next one.

If you’re happy with your painting once it’s finished, wait at least 24 hours before you frame it.

In the meantime, you can take inspiration from some of the leading names in the Coffee Painting world.

A native to East Tennessee in the USA, Michael Aaron Williams is known for his urban street art in 15 different countries all over the world, as well as for his beguiling coffee paintings on antique paper. He uses ledger paper from the late 19th and early 20th century, brushes, lots of coffee and a little ink for extra flare.


Coffee painting with Manuel Caffè3


Tens of thousands of dedicated followers just can’t get enough of Giulia Bernardelli’s coffee-based creations. Better known online as @bernulia, she only leaves her masterpieces in place for long enough to snap a photo of them, then she eats them, wipes them away or changes them into something completely different from their original form.


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The third artist that we’d like to tell you about is Ghidaq al-Nizar (@coffeetopia) from Indonesia. He takes an original approach by painting on leaves and using coffee grounds in his pieces. He calls his art #ZeroWasteCoffee because he usually paints with his leftover morning coffee, so nothing gets wasted – not even the grounds. He also makes latte foam art. You can check it all out in his Instagram account.


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