Tricks of the trade – my tips on creating professional latte art at home

Author: Matt Philben   Date Posted:30 October 2018 

Tricks of the trade – my tips on creating professional latte art at home main image Tricks of the trade – my tips on creating professional latte art at home image

Tricks of the trade – my tips on creating professional latte art at home

Everyone has a part of their job that they get particularly excited by – for you it might be client meetings, causal Friday or reporting time – but for me, it’s my ability to be creative with latte art. I guess it’s because after eight years as a barista, I could probably pour a coffee in my sleep. Latte art is just that – it’s different every single time. What brings me great joy is that I get to surprise my customers. They expect great coffee, they don’t expect the added gesture of a handmade design in their crema, and that’s really rewarding for me.

I don’t believe in keeping skills a secret. The more you can share your skills with others, the brighter and more talented our world will be. After all, I’ve had to learn from people along the way too, and for them I am so thankful. I hope these tips help you make your friends and family smile when you next pour their latte at home, and I hope it makes you smile too.

 

Creating latte art starts with getting the tools and ingredients right

The first thing you should know is that there’s actually a science behind making latte art, and it comes down to the chemistry between the milk and the espresso, as well as the temperatures and colour of coffee.

 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. Have your home espresso machine turned on and heating up well in advance.
  2. Your favourite milk jug (or two) within easy reach.
  3. A thermometer (if available).
  4. At least 1 litre of full cream milk (preferable but not a necessity) on hand to practice with.
  5. Your favourite Di Bella coffee blend ready to go!

How to texture the milk:

  1. Make sure you start with the milk jug half full, you’ll need room to stretch the milk.
  2. When stretching the milk add small amounts of air over 3-5 sec, don’t try to stretch it all instantly as you’ll upset the froth consistency.
  3. Sink the steam wand fully below the surface and keep the milk spinning (clock or anti-clockwise) by setting the steam wand slightly off-centre in the jug as you steam.
  4. If you don’t have a thermometer handy to watch as the temperature rises use the 2 second rule:  Hold the palm of your hand against the side of the milk jug for 1-3 second intervals, if you cannot hold it there for a 1-2 count then it's reached a good temperature to pour with.

 

How to create a love heart

  1. Start by holding the cup in the palm of your hand and tilting it to 45 degrees.
  2. Pour the milk into the centre of the coffee, approximately 4-6cm above the crema, at a slow but constant speed, making small circles in the centre until the cup in ¾ full.
  3. Now level out the cup and keeping the milk stream in the middle of the coffee, lower the jug towards the crema while lifting the back of the jug to help bring out the last of the froth, this should create a circle of sorts in the middle of the cup.
  4. Now pour a line through the circle by slightly lifting the jug and pouring through with a narrow milk stream.
  5. Often your first few attempts may look like apples instead of hearts, but it’s now just a matter of practice!

How to create a Rosetta Leaf

  1. As with the heart, start by holding your cup at a 45 degree angle.
  2. Pour slowly and constantly until ¾ full.
  3. This time however, instead of holding the milk stream in the middle we’ll need to move it to the ‘back edge’ of the cup.
  4. Now we move the jug backwards towards the opposite edge while moving it side to side to create the ‘leaves’.
  5. Once we’ve created a few leaves we’ll need to pour back through towards the back of the cup again, this will sink part of the leaves and create the ‘stem’.
  6. Pouring Rosetta leaves can be challenging if you don’t leave enough room in the cup to fit your initial leaves but keep practicing and you’ll easily get a feel for them too!

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