Food & Drink

A Barista at Café Fili in Mt. Vernon is Taking Latte Art to the Next Level

From rainbows and sunflowers to cats and pandas, Jaycee Quitiquit crafts a wide array of colorful coffee designs.
—Photography by Justin Tsucalas

Jaycee Quitiquit has two passions: brewing coffee and creating art. So, when he became a barista at, it was only natural for him to take up latte art.

“When Café Fili hired me, they didn’t have a wide coffee program—they were more focusing on food,” he says. “I was like, ‘I love coffee and I love art—why not combine them?’”

From Technicolor rainbows and sunflowers to cats and pandas, the self-taught 26-year-old can craft a wide array of designs, but what really sets his work apart is his use of color. “I love the mixing of colors,” he says. “Coffee is brown and dark. Color makes it beautiful.”

As a gay man, he also sees the rainbow hues as part of his personal pride.  “I’m part of the LGBTQ community,” he says. “Putting color on my cup of coffee means I’m part of that society—I want to convey how beautiful that is.”

Quitiquit, who moved to the U.S. in 2017 from the Philippines, comes by his love of coffee by way of his hometown Baguio city, where coffee is king.

“I’m from the mountains,” he says. “In my city, people drink coffee because the climate is cooler. We do a lot of latte art because we love hospitality. We like to go above and beyond.”

Before working at the Mt. Vernon cafe, he had never made java art. “I just started looking at pictures and videos and applying what I learned,” says Quitiquit, who adds food dye to the foam, pushes and pulls it to create shapes, then outlines it with chocolate syrup, all in under a minute so the coffee doesn’t get cold.

Despite his hard work, Quitiquit is not bothered by the fact that his milk foam masterpieces are ephemeral.

“People say, ‘I don’t want to sip this coffee and ruin the art.’ I tell them it gives me a chance to make a new design when they come back.”