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Latte art basics

Steam Pressure

To ensure your milk spins with enough force to texturize your milk, you must have your machine regularly serviced and a cleaning procedure should be performed on your machine daily.

This cleaning procedure should include soaking your steam wand in boiling hot water mixed with a scoop of ‘cafetto’ or like branded product, this helps the milk residue that builds up inside the steam wand to break down and dissipate. If this is done regularly your steam wand will be able to provide consistent pressure, steam volume and heat.

Texturising

In order to produce the perfect textured milk that is most suitable for pouring latte art, it is imperative that you introduce all the required air/froth at the very start of the process.

Milk does not froth well when it is heated above a certain temperature – you will notice large inconsistent bubbles in your milk if you introduce air into your milk too late in the process of steaming. The idea is to create milk that looks glossy, like wet paint.

As discussed in earlier blog posts this is achieved by spinning the milk using the direction of the steam wand relative to the side of the jug. The closer the steam wand is to the side of the jug when steaming milk, the faster it will spin. Watch your milk level and play around with the amount of air you are introducing in order to find that sweet spot.

Technique

The way to pour consistent latte art is to practice small before moving onto more complex designs. Practice pouring milk through the crema without breaking it, with the cup held in your hand and tilted on an angle and the height of the jug to the cup at about ten centimeters.

The starting angle of the cup will allow the tip of your jug and the milk to make closer contact with the crema. Pour high at the start with a thin milk stream in order to maintain crema retention. Then at the same time, ‘drop in’ closing the distance between the jug and the cup until the milk is being poured out very close to the surface of the crema.

At the same time this is occurring pour a slightly faster stream of milk. Keep playing with the angle and change in pouring speed and height until you see a marked difference or contrast between the crema and the white milk on top.

Some notable videos to learn off include the Instagram of Ben Morrow (from St Ali Melbourne) and Joshua Rivers (Owner of C.R.E.A.M) – These two guys are masters and have impeccable style. The bonus being, they upload videos so you can get a feel for how to pour!

Practice

Practice makes perfect! Start with small easy to pour dots and hearts before moving on to more complex free pour art such as tulips, rosettas and swans. Once you get the basics right, it’s about repetition. You may not get it straight away, but that’s okay. As long as you have fun experimenting at your own pace, you’ll improve.

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