latte art toronto

Toronto barista does latte art for celebrities

Brian Leonard began making latte art four years ago. Since then, he's hand-crafted lattes for some of the biggest names in music, movies and entertainment, and he's showing no signs of slowing down.

Leonard, who's lived in Toronto for the past five years, started playing around with foam while bartending at an Italian restaurant that had an espresso machine on site. "It [latte art] was sort of this really fun thing I could do while I was working," he says.

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Later, Leonard, who studied opera in university, got a job singing three nights a week at a spot on King Street. During the day, he worked as a barista at the Coffee Bar on Front Street. That's when his latte art started getting noticed by local media outlets.

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He briefly worked for Second Cup and Aroma, and operated a pedal powered espresso machine at Tokyo Smoke before landing at Calii Love, which is now his home base. If you want to catch him there, follow his Instagram feed because he's also busy with a slew of other events and commitments.

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His popularity has surged since he appeared at the TIFF-related Producer's Ball. 

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Things really got going when Dan Ganum brought Calii Love to Sundance earlier this year. On day one, John Legend shared one of Leonard's lattes on Instagram, and then celebrities started pouring in, including Game of Throne's Peter Dinklage.

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"I told him that he plays the game of thrones while I play the game of foam," Leonard recounts. "And he thought that was pretty lame, but I was just so excited to meet him."

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Since his time in Park City, Utah back in January, he's been at the Canadian Screen Awards, the Junos, and the MMVAs.

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But regardless of who he's making a latte for - whether it's a celebrity or a customer at Calii Love - he uses his background in performance to frame his work. "It’s all about creating a moment with someone," he says. "And we get to share that moment together."

Lead photo by

@baristabrian


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