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Coffee Art | Painting With Beans

Updated on October 3, 2014

When It Comes To Coffee, There's Art In Beans!

I must be addicted to coffee as I find that, not only am I drinking it regularly, I'm eating it at any chance I get, and now I want to start painting with it! Well, not me I'm no artist, but pour yourself a cup and see what I've found lurking in the coffee art world. And this art has nothing to do with that stencil art that's shaken on top of a cappuccino, this is good old paintbrush watercolor stuff!

Whether it's a latte or cappuccino or even that luscious Irish coffee, drinking coffee has to be one of the great pleasures for many of us. It doesn't stop there, when I pour out a cup of this elixir, I find I'm stretching my hand out in the direction of something else, yes, a piece of coffee cake or coffee fudge.

I grew up on a farm in Kenya where my father grew a small acreage of coffee, and processed it himself (with plenty of help), from the picking through the husking and washing to the drying. I was unaware then, how fascinated I would later become, with this magical brown bean and its addictive properties.

I'm astounded at the artistic talent I've found of those who paint with coffee. Their methods are often unusual and quite unique as are their final works of art- one thing they all have in common is COFFEE TALENT.


Image credit: Karen Eland,

Created on 30 April 2013

The Coffee Artists

Angel Sarkela-Saur and Andrew Saur

Some while ago I came across a story about a couple, Angel Sarkela-Saur and Andrew Saur, who were painting pictures by only using coffee and nothing else. These two graphic designers have combined their artistic skills and now specialize in painting this type of unique and stylish art.

Having developed this kind of art movement jointly, they design and paint each of their paintings together as a husband and wife team. They say that it's an art form that keeps evolving, and what they enjoy the most is developing and implementing ideas jointly, right through to the final piece of artwork.

It's inevitable that by each bringing their own styles to the canvas, the final work of art has an interesting complexity and subtlety to it. To be able to produce such high quality work with anyone, let alone your loved one, is a worthy feat, but to turn it into a world class item of art is outstanding merit indeed.

Angel Sarkela-Saur and Andrew Saur

Image credit:

Coffee Art Report on FOX

I'm amazed at the different hues in this image and all just produced from the dark brown coffee bean. To achieve light sepia color washes is fairly straight forward, but Angel Sarkela-Saur and Andrew Saur have created what they call, a revolutionary process to gain these rich, dark hues. There's obviously a great deal of trial and error that has gone into developing this interesting art style.

Their Coffee Art has proved popular and has received much attention worldwide. They have had exhibitions in numerous countries across Europe and the United States, as well as in Malawi in Africa.

To see how the couple painting in action visit their Coffee Art on YouTube site.

Coffee and The Fine Arts

Coffee has been the inspiration of many people in the fine arts world over the centuries, from painters to musicians. It has the power to oil the wheels of poetry and prose while casting its spell wide over such experts as caricaturists, engravers and illustrators. It's the work of these craftsmen and craftswomen over time that has given us an insight into the workings and goings-on in the coffee houses of old and generally behind the scenes of these establishments.

This coffee connection to the arts is more so to do with drinking the beverage rather than sweeping brushstrokes of it across a canvas. However, the results of attractive sepia tones left by the artists using coffee as their medium speak for themselves.

I have long been interested in art of all types and using a variety of media, but watercolors have had a special place in my tiny collection. I view coffee art in the same way as watercolor as it's applied in a similar manner only using a different color palette.

Bamboo - Painted With Coffee - by Cheryl Buehring

Cheryl Buehring studied art at the Art Instruction School of Minneapolis in Minnesota graduating in 1995. Discovering a joy of using coffee as a medium for her paintings, a style was born. To enhance colors she sometimes adds a splash of natural dyes extracted from fruit and vegetables.

Cheryl spent many years living in Hawaii and was fascinated at how bamboo used to grow and look. She created this eye catching picture using just coffee on watercolor paper.

Measurements: 4 inches x 7 inches

Available for sale at

An Artist Who Loves Painting With Coffee

Karen Eland

American artist, Karen Eland says that painting using coffee is fairly similar to watercolor, but is much more delicate. I expect when an artist uses just a single color to paint with, the detail has to be more refined to establish a good contrast. Like many art and design topics, if one is limited in the quantity of whatever is available to work with, then the creative juices must work a little harder to be effective with the one you've got.

In Karen's case, she enjoys the fine tuning of "coaxing out the espresso into gentle shades and layers". She's obviously in the 'coffee-zone' as her aim is to meet and paint coffee workers in action, but she'll have to take her coffee paints with her as they are already roasted. Newly picked coffee beans bear no resemblance to the dark brown bean we're all familiar with.

More of Karen's work below...and loads more on her Coffee Creations website.

Image credit:

Ballet Class

Ballet Class by Karen Eland
Ballet Class by Karen Eland

Permission granted for use

Karen shows her deft subtlety when using a paintbrush in this Ballet Class painting. The detail of the cornice on the wall behind is refined and elegant while the dancers are beautifully portrayed in their typical poses.

This piece oozes warmth and a sense of being there. Karen's words on her site poses the question to the viewer, "can you spot the cup of coffee awaiting to energize the ballerina?"

Mona Latte

Mona Latte by Karen Eland
Mona Latte by Karen Eland

Permission granted for use

Mona Latte was Karen's very first piece of coffee art which she painted in 1997 when in a Tulsa coffee shop, in Oklahoma. She must have repainted it (probably many times) as this is a 2003 version!

"Now we know the secret of her smile- a delicious latte." Karen Eland

Girl with a Pearl Earring

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Karen Eland
Girl with a Pearl Earring by Karen Eland

Permission granted for use

This delightful painting really catches the moment as the girls sparkling eyes look back at the viewer's eye while she's warming her cupped hands around the cup of.. yes, you can't get away from it,.. coffee!

Another of Karen's little quips, "Vermeer's famous muse, caught on a coffee break."

Georgeta Blanaru is a fine artist from Romania who paints in a multitude of media, but it's her coffee paintings that are extraordinary.

She seems to be able to extract a few colors unassociated with coffee, like the red of Santa Claus's jacket in some of her paintings and the subtle sepia tones in others.

More of her coffee art

Just Coffee and a Cup - by Hong Yi

You have to admire Hong Yi’s paintings with coffee, they are very different to most of the other more conventional coffee artists in that she doesn't use any brushes. How can that be? Take a look at this image to see that her only tool is a coffee mug. Most of us spend time trying to avoid leaving those nasty stains of coffee behind on the furniture, but Hong Yi does it intentionally and has created her own unique style.

This painting is made by smudging Nescafe coffee stains together from the base of a cup. It is a portrait of a Taiwanese song-writer by the name of Jay Chou measuring 3ft by 5.5 ft.

Image credit: Hong Yi

Don't Go Without Making a Mark - I'm always interested in hearing from you

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    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 4 years ago

      Awesome art! I have seen tea art but never coffee art to this extent of creativity. I have used coffee or tea for tinting the paper for my watercolors...great lens!

    • profile image

      TommysPal 4 years ago

      The pictures are beautiful. I'm inspired!

    • PaigSr profile image

      PaigSr 4 years ago from State of Confussion

      I have some friends that own a coffee shop. And this would be a great way to help decorate. Thanks for the great idea. It will be passed on.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 4 years ago

      What a unique way to create art.