Hot Chocolate Memento Mori

Deathly cocoa from Fremont Coffee
A toast to your health?

When it gets cold, there’s nothing I love more than thick, rich, creamy hot cocoa. It’s a treat, and I never kid myself thinking about “antioxidants” or such nonsense. I just enjoy the lingering effects of all that sugar in my system as I soldier on through yet another rainy Seattle afternoon.

Aside from the occasional addition of spice, until recently I didn’t think there was much beyond high-quality chocolate and milk that could make hot cocoa even better than it already is. I was wrong. If you want to make hot cocoa truly magnificent, add a SKULL, like my barista at Fremont Coffee did the other day.

Of course, my coffee shop Michelangelo wasn’t the first or last guy to do this — I had just never been lucky enough to see it before. (Go ahead and scoff, coffee connoisseurs!) In fact, a quick search on Flickr showed me that Fremont, and Seattle in general, knows no shortage of morbid coffee art.

I posted this picture on Facebook, and people seemed to love it so much that I went searching for other skull-related pictures of coffee and cocoa. Here’s a little gallery, designed for people like me who enjoy a little memento mori with their morning caffeine. Kind of the ultimate “carpe diem” inspiration, don’t you think?

EviLatte shot by Karla Jean Davis
Skull and Bones latte art by Flickr user Alexa Baehr
Halloween cappuccino skull
Halloween cappuccino skull by Flick user Cafédirect
Skull by Dougesfeo from
Latte Art Skull by Flickr user Drosche
Latte Art Skull by Flickr user Drosche
Terrifying “Halloween spirit” latte art from Columbia River Coffee Roasters
Skull Java by Flickr user Drop Out Art
Sad Skull Latte by Adam Vrankulj
Latte by unknown genius
Latte by unknown genius

I’m not sure that last image qualifies as a skull (maybe it’s a Jhonen Vasquez latte?), but it was certainly odd enough for inclusion. Hey, this is my ridiculous blog, not yours!

For those who want to try this at home, here’s a little video from Montreal Caffe Java Art that shows you one technique. Pretty simple, actually! A more thorough write-up from RateMyRosetta is here. Or you could totally cheat and just use this cappuccino stencil.

Are you tea drinkers feeling left out? You could always drink your cuppa’ in this mug from CircaCeramics:

Skull cup from CircaCeramics

And stir it with these spoons from Pinky Diablo:

Skull spoons by Pinky Diablo

Or you could just use bone china — that’s creepy enough, especially if it’s made from, erm, human bones.

(Got more pictures of skull latte art and skull-themed coffee accessories? Send ’em my way!)

UPDATE: Alex Palmer, aka @LitMisc, sends this photo of a pumpkin latte with skull marshmallows from a Koreatown cafe in NYC:

My price is spine-tingling, at least

2 thoughts on “Hot Chocolate Memento Mori

  1. I love your images of latte art. I am a graphic designer in Minneapolis and I’d really like to connect with you about possibly using one of your images on a book cover I’m designing. Hope we can connect soon!

    My best


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