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Coffee Stories

Rens Tuzon

By 10th April 2024No Comments6 min read

The craft of coffee is innately artistic — each sip of a quality brew sparks admiration, a reminder of the mastery it demands. From novel brewing methods to unconventional roasting styles, those in the industry strive to marry creativity with innovation, forever seeking the next best method to serve and savor quality coffee. Rens Tuzon, an internationally recognized coffee artist and pioneer of the style, may have the solution. 

Rens Tuzon

Rens Tuzon

The young but already beloved craft of coffee painting is just finding its footing on the international scene, buoyed by the efforts of one of its earliest pioneers, Filipino artist-turned-coffee painter Rens Tuzon.  


For Tuzon, a mug of well-brewed coffee is more than just something to be enjoyed: It is his medium, the locus of his creative and spiritual energies. From the dark eddies and shimmering oil slicks of a fresh brew emerges his artistic vision. With each dip of a bristled brush, he recreates life through the lens of coffee. A deeply spiritual process, Tuzon’s coffee paintings bridge the gap between experience and expression, vividly reimagining the world as he sees it. 


“There are no limitations when it comes to my paintings, just as long as I can do it creatively. To begin each painting, I pray. I focus on my senses for guidance and to find inspiration. That’s how I start when working with coffee.”

Rens Tuzon coffee art

Rens Tuzon coffee art

Tuzon’s deep passion for his chosen medium has led him to the heart of the international coffee scene. From Pasig City and Moscow to Paris and New York City, he displays his work — and artistic philosophy — with pride. But his determination to make a name for himself and the practice of coffee art comes as no surprise to those who know him.


From a young age, Tuzon looked toward the future, imagining how to bring his creative spirit to life. From selling halo-halo to afford his tuition to completing drawing assignments for peers to pay for books and materials, Tuzon paved a path toward his dreams, ceaselessly moving toward the future he saw for himself. Today, his advice to young artists is the very same sentiment he embraced all those years ago: 


“Never stop. Do not quit. Keep creating things, even if others don’t notice them. Keep creating, even if no one appreciates your work. You’ll hone your abilities and craft in the process. If you continue creating, you will become what you dream of. Things only get done if we remain in motion.”


The pursuit of progress became the guiding force driving the young artist. A Caritas Manila scholarship took him first to San Sebastian College, then to Far Eastern University’s Institute of Architecture and Fine Arts. After several years of formal training, Tuzon embarked on a creative journey of his own, a series of artistic experimentations that culminated in a lifelong fascination with coffee as an artistic medium. 


While coffee may still be considered an unconventional tool, it demands the same level of technical precision as any other medium. Its rich, monochromatic hues demand a careful eye, requiring an intimate understanding of how value and contrast combine to reimagine reality. But, in Tuzon’s view, coffee — a natural and sustainable product — is far superior to traditional paint, bringing him ever closer to his subjects and the world they inhabit.  


“By using coffee, we are not just promoting its sustainability but are also helping and supporting local coffee farmers and showcasing how unique and versatile coffee is as a medium.”


Tuzon’s innovative use of the medium has earned him innumerable international accolades. Over the years, he has achieved some of the industry’s most illustrious milestones: exhibiting his work at the 2017 International Coffee Exposition and Art Exhibition; winning first runner-up at the 2018 New York City Coffee Festival; and earning the Coffee Art Project Runner-Up award at the 2019 London Coffee Festival.


Recognition for Tuzon’s work has grown, and with it, his faith in forward momentum and the inevitable returns of dedication. 


“Success comes in many different variations and situations. As long as you are happy and content with what you achieve—be it small or big—it’s a success. Bigger achievements come from small beginnings. That, for me, is my success and inspiration.”


His philosophy vindicated and his hard work rewarded, Tuzon now strives to teach others to embrace their inner creativity, founding Sining Karaban, an advocacy group dedicated to providing impoverished children with the space and resources to learn to create and appreciate art.


While Tuzon still exhibits his work, he spends much of his time in pursuit of a new goal: To use his art as evidence, proving to his community and the world that creativity is, above all else, our greatest gift.


“We are creatives. We’ve been blessed with the gift of creativity, and the absolute act of creating provides us with a return of energy and excitement that overshadows everything in return.”


But Tuzon’s coffee journey is just beginning. Having achieved the goals that once seemed so far-fetched, he is busy dreaming up new ones — for himself and for the industry at large. The momentum he has so carefully cultivated is only building and, with it, the momentum of coffee art itself. 


“The reception of coffee as a medium is fast rising internationally. As I envision the future of coffee art, I see it getting brighter, with wider appreciation and more platforms opening up to us. More doors of opportunity are coming, which is really wonderful and inspiring.”

Riley Rogers

Lead Editor at eNotes | Editorial Marketing at Highspot | Oxford Comma Advocate