Here’s more evidence to back up all those studies on boredom inspiring creativity: Meet Mike Breach, barista extraordinaire, who “paints” everything — and everyone — into his lattes. “I’m an esspressionist,” he proudly proclaims. Just last year, Breach was idling away his customer-less hours in the back of a hotel kitchen with only a dormant espresso machine for company. He was “so, so bored.” So he taught himself how to inscribe ornate hearts in coffee foam, with a bamboo skewer as his paintbrush. “People got so excited about it!” says Breach. He took it further; out came the teddy bears (“the girls just love those”), a portrait of that hotel boss (“I didn’t show it to him, but my coworkers and I laughed about it”), and Salvador Dalì, and Edward Scissorhands, and Beyoncé.
We’re at the Smile To-Go, and he’s frothing some milk behind the counter; the shushing of the machine almost drowns out his words. He reflects. “It’s like, if something is lacking, you’ve got to find a way to make it exciting and fun. Right? I mean, I’m so happy that my old job was so boring! Otherwise I wouldn’t be making these! And this is just the beginning. I want to start a movement.” The milk is now pillowy, foamy-soft — perfect for the latte Breach is about to pour. He stares into his empty chestnut-colored canvas, and suddenly looks up. “I’ve been wanting to try Snoop. Let’s do that, yea?”