Latte art requires some serious training in order to produce beautiful patterns on top of coffee drinks. The process involves pouring steamed milk into a shot of espresso, in such a way that patterns form on the surface layer of foam.
In this video from YouTube user Joop Modderkolk, baristas at a cafe in Thailand etch some pretty intricate drawings on the coffee drinks, drizzling multi-colored syrups to create swirls, flowers, and other dazzling formations. Check it out above!
The cream and foam used in latte art has to be at the right temperature and consistency in order to create these crafty distinct patterns. There are two main techniques that are used; free pouring and etching.
In the free pouring technique, the barista moves the pitcher while pouring the milk to form an image. While the etching technique, a tool or stick is used to pull the cream and foam to create an image after the milk has been poured.
A new version of latte art has also developed not too long ago called 3D latte art. Instead of those two (2) dimensional roses and flowers, baristas have taken things up a notch with “larger than life” three (3) dimensional designs such as elephants, cats and dogs to name a few.
We used to think that latte art was exclusive to only barista’s working at your favourite coffee shop, but with a little practice and these design steps you can be on your way to creating your own masterpieces to impress your friends and family. Before you begin, please ensure you use 3 ounces of whole milk per 1 ounce of espresso for the best design presentation. Also heat your milk to between 140 and 160 degrees.
EASY FOAM HEART: Tilt the cup towards you while pouring 80% of the steamed milk into the cup. Then, bring the pitcher to the edge of the cup that’s closest to you and shake it quickly from left to right to form a circle shape. Now, move the pitcher in a straight line across the cup away from you to form a heart.
THE RABBIT: Begin by holding the pitcher about an inch above the cup and pour the steamed milk from the edge that is closest to you. Once again, pour 80% of the milk into the cup and shake left to right to form a round shape. As opposed to taking the pitcher to the far end of the cup, bring it to the center instead and pour until you form the outline of your rabbit. Now use a fine point tool and make two dots for the eyes, then four lines outward from the center for the whiskers.
For many of us latte art is still so mysterious and magical, however, with the right gear and a bit of practice you can create your own latte art at home. A quick pro-tip: Keep the milk pitcher in the refrigerator, as this allows the milk to steam longer for better texture.