Nothing says barista quite like “latte art”. You know, the pictures and patterns created when pouring foamed milk into an espresso shot. I haven’t quite mastered the art myself I have to confess. My coffee art designs are a bit, well, abstract, like interpreting the shapes in clouds! But it’s fun to give it a go, so here are some tips on impressing your coffee drinking friends and clients.
There are many different designs to go for, and of course you can create your own. Common ones are rosettas or ferns, hearts and flowers. But really there’s no limit to the designs you can create. The two techniques used in latte art are free pouring and etching. Etching involves using a tool to create the pattern after the milk is poured. In this blog, I will go through the free pour technique.
To begin with, you need milk that has been foamed to a smooth, thick texture with no bubbles. See my earlier blog titled “Perfectly Foamed Milk” at www.purebean.com.au for help with this one. A nice crema on your espresso shot is needed for a good result. Also, it’s best to use a curved cup that sits comfortably in your hands so that you can move the cup around easily.
Once your milk and espresso shot are ready, tilt the cup slightly towards the jug with the jug resting on the edge of the cup and pour the milk directly through the espresso in the centre until white starts to appear on the surface of the crema. Now the designing begins…
For a rosetta, start from the edge of the cup and begin to draw with slow zig zag movements moving the wrist rather than the hand. Use larger motions at the beginning whilst pouring in the centre, then tapering to the end of the cup to form a tip. Then sweep the milk up the centre through the leaves. Keep your jug close to the surface of the milk for nice symmetrical leaves.
For a heart, instead of a zig zagging movement, keep your pour in the same area to make a ringed circle. Then sweep the milk up the centre of the pattern.
Once you have these two designs worked out you can play with your new skill to create other designs. Also, you can embellish your design with etching, sprinkled chocolate powder or even melted chocolate.
And one final word (or three) on mastering this skill: practice, practice, practice. Good luck!