(Herald Sun) WE all know the Man in the Moon, but how often do you look into your morning coffee and see a face staring back? Cafe owner Chris Phillips chose an unusual medium to create art – the cafe lattes he serves by the trayful at his Richmond cafe.

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“When you pour the milk in and the cream hits, it’s just like a blank canvas on which to paint,” the 36-year old said.

Mr Phillips and fiancee Bernadette Farrugia started Flavors of Lakhoum in Swan St five years ago and he dabbled with the idea while pouring coffee.

“Sometimes you see swirls and patterns when you’re pouring the coffee in, and one day I was pouring it and I saw an eye appear,” he said.

“From there I just drew in a mouth and ears. I’ve been slowly practising since then, but have got pretty good in the last few months – every month I find ways to add more detail.”

The pictures usually only take about 30 seconds, meaning your coffee doesn’t suffer for the sake of art.

“I’m a very visual person, so I like to draw. I usually draw faces, but people have asked for yachts and things in the past,” Mr Phillips said.

“A regular customer came in the day after going to the James Brown concert and she had managed to score his bow tie.

“I drew a picture of her with the bow tie. That’s one of my favourites – I took a photo of it.”

A barista for five years, Mr Phillips said it could be difficult to muster the artistic effort occasionally, but he loved pleasing customers.

“Often my regular customers will bring in friends and they’ll ask me to specifically draw a face so they can show their friends,” he said.

The cafe is at 175 Swan St, Richmond.