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  • Nikki Gibson

Latte Art at Home

Updated: Jan 10, 2022

We already know that making a good shot of espresso is an art in itself - BUT it's time to take your morning coffee to the next level with latte art. If you like your coffee with milk, you will no doubt have come across latte art – cool patterns made in the creamy foam topping your espresso. You probably think latte art is only for experienced baristas at your local coffee shop, however with a little practice - you can create your own latte designs at home. All that you need for preparing latte art designs are:

  • A stainless steel pitcher/jug

  • A cup or mug

  • A latte art tool or a toothpick

  • Espresso machine

  • Thermometer (optional)

There are three basic phases to creating latte art: 1. Making the perfect foam 2. Pulling your espresso 3. Pouring the foam 1. Making the Perfect Foam Pour Cold Milk First, you need to pour enough cold (full-fat is best) milk (at 1˚C or 34˚F) for one cup into your jug/pitcher. Put the pitcher in the freezer for about 10 minutes before you are ready to use it. A cold pitcher allows more time to steam the milk, reducing the risk of scalding and making the cream stiffer and easier to handle. Steam and Swirl Second, put the steam wand at the bottom of the pitcher, turn on the steam, and raise the wand slowly until it is close to the top of the milk. As the milk continues to rise, lower the pitcher so that the steam wand stays about 1 cm away from the top of the milk. Don’t let the milk over stretch or form any big bubbles. When the milk reaches 140 F – 180 F, turn off the wand. If you aren’t sure of the temperature just by looking, use a thermometer for accuracy. Give the milk a few seconds to settle and then swirl it vigorously. If you notice any bubbles, pound the bottom of the pitcher on the counter a few times before continuing to swirl for 20 – 30 seconds. You are aiming for small, light bubbles known as microfoam, as opposed to big bubbles. 2. Pulling your Espresso Next, pull the espresso shots using your beans of choice. The ideal shot should have a good layer of crema. Pour your espresso shot(s) into a coffee mug or cup with a big mouth. Don’t let the shot sit for more than 10 seconds before adding the the milk.

3. Pouring Milk and Creating your Art

Heart (pretty easy)

Tilt the cup toward you as you pour about 80 percent of the steamed milk into the cup.

Bring the pitcher to the cup edge that’s nearest you and shake it quickly from left to right to make a round shape. After you create a round shape, move the pitcher in a straight line across the cup, away from you, to form a heart.

Rosetta (a bit more difficult)

Hold the pitcher about an inch above the coffee cup and begin pouring the steamed milk at the edge of the cup that is farthest from you. Once you’ve poured about 50 percent of the milk, move the pitcher close to the surface of the cup and begin shaking it left to right to form the layers of foam. They should look like branches or leaves. As you start to see the layers, continue shaking the pitcher and move it toward the inner edge of the cup closest to you. Quick side to side movements will result in a rosetta with many leaves, while slow movements will create fewer, thicker leaves.

Etched Spirals (super easy)

For this you will need to make sure your foam is nice and thick to prevent the syrup from sinking to the bottom. Using syrup, draw a spiral from the centre of the mug to the edge. Then take a latte art tool or toothpick and pull lines from the centre to the edge. Make five lines to resemble a star. Then in between those lines, make lines from the edge to the centre.

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