As some of our more creative and caffeine-addicted readers might recall, we recently reported that Japan is now supplying a variety of DIY latte-art related goods which will enable anyone to create awe-inspiring masterpieces at home. Of course, we were fascinated by the prospect of being able to stun friends and casual acquaintances with our barista-style foamy coffee sculpting skills. So when the opportunity to test out Takara Tomy’s Awataccino machine came around, we jumped at the chance!

The “Awataccino” officially went on sale in Japan on December 4 and we scurried as fast as we could to procure our own! The Awataccino produces a stream of foam which enables easy sculpting of 3-D foam art to top your latte (or whichever foam-topped beverage tickles your fancy). The device was tested by our Japanese reporter, Yuuko, who is the first to admit that she doesn’t have the kind of manual dexterity that might come naturally to freehand foam artistes. Nonetheless, she was confident that the Awataccino would compensate for any artistic shortcomings, enabling her to create fluffy masterpieces of kawaii latte perfection!

▼ An exterior box shot of the Awataccino! We opted for the “brown” version because, well, coffee is brown.

After unboxing, Yuuko experienced a moment of doubt. “But wait… what if my latte-sculpting skills are non-existent? What if I embarrass myself by coming out with a sequence of flat and lifeless foam creatures whose grimaces will haunt the nightmares of my guests forevermore?” Luckily, those worries soon passed as the excitement of imminent foamy action began to take hold in the inquisitive mind of our intrepid product tester!

▼ The instructions in the box were very reassuring, claiming that even first-timers can produce impressive foam art by simply utilizing the Awataccino’s features!

The instructions also give useful hints as to which sort of “brown” foodstuffs provide the best “paint” for detailing (that’s either chocolate syrup or cocoa powder, fyi.) Also, Yuuko discovered that in order to create “stiff” foam suitable for sculpting, only fat-free milk or soy milk can be used. Yes, the Awataccino is health-conscious as well! We’ll be using soy milk for our experimentations.

A toothpick works well for precise brushwork. Make sure you’ve got your “brown paint” prepared before you start. You don’t want your foam to fall before you’ve finished picking out the whiskers and other complex details.

Now it’s time to begin! Yuuko heats the soy milk in the microwave to a steamy temperature between the range of 60 to 70 degrees celsius. She then pours the hot soy milk into the Awataccino and flips the ON switch. Time for action! After just 1 minute, the Awataccino has done its thing. After waiting a further 2-3 minutes, it’s time to get sculpting! Yuuko warns that not waiting the requisite 2-3 minutes may result in insipid foam without the necessary “stiffness”.

▼ Churn, baby churn! Coffee inFOAMo!!! (okay, so we were getting a little overexcited by this point…)

With coffee prepared, Yuuko was ready to begin spraying foam like a firefighter in charge of a particularly dainty hose. Unfortunately (and maybe because she accidentally over-heated the milk) the foam was coming out in airy little puffs that lacked substantiability. Disaster! After quickly chucking the failed milky contents away, she started over from scratch, this time achieving the perfect frothy texture.

Perhaps humbled by her initial failure, Yuuko decided to start off simple by creating some basic foam mounds. Imagine her surprise to see a pretty darn good teddy bear peeking up at her from her cup of joe! Hey, maybe she’s actually a secret genius when it comes to foam art? Bolstered by her success, Yuuko embarked upon a foam-sculpting spree. Since a considerable amount of foam is generated from a surprisingly small amount of soy milk, there’s no penalty for ad-hoc experimentation.

Yuuko reports that the Awataccino enables one to feel like a true coffee artist with only a little bit of practice. She recommends the product to young women who want to impress friends with their coffee creations, or even craft a little something sweet to give to a man-friend. Yuuko does note that the machine might be a little difficult for children to operate (sure, you could argue that coffee’s not for kids anyway, but we think that foamy hot chocolate would taste great) so make sure that children are supervised.

▼ Be warned! You may find your own creations simply too cute to drink!

If these pictures aren’t enough, here’s a YouTube video from the official site showing the Awataccino in action! First, a group of smiley young ladies, all winners in the 2014 Japan Bishojo Contest, check out the Takara Tomy range of deco latte strips. Then, it’s time to try out the Awataccino machine! As the video shows, it might be a good idea to build up your foam sculpting skills slowly with plenty of practice before performing for guests. The “bear” created by one of the girls meets with a somewhat lukewarm reaction. Still, practice makes perfect, and with the help of the Awataccino, you’ll soon be cranking out breathtaking foam creations that are on par with anything 3-D “latte artist” Kohei Matsuno could whip up!

The Awataccino is on sale now in Japan for a reasonable 3,400 yen (US$28).

Photos: RocketNews24
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