Most of us will agree that it is an art just to be able to make a great tasting cup of espresso. But, latte art is a skill that can take years to master. Latte art is art created by making patterns in the foam topping in espresso drinks. The beautiful patterns are made by pouring the frothy milk on top of the espresso shot. The result is a pattern created on the surface of the drink that can look so attractive you may not want to ruin it by taking a drink.
Latte art takes coordination and practice. After the espresso is in the mug, it’s time to add the milk to form an work of art. The milk must be poured evenly as it is the stream of flowing milk that makes the patterns on top of the coffee.
If you would like to try your hand at creating a cup of latte art, below are instructions to get you started.
Begin by using milk that is very cold. Keep the milk just above freezing temperature. Also, keep the steam pitcher refrigerated. This allows a longer steaming time to create a smooth texture that is required. Pour just enough milk for one cup in the steam pitcher. The steam wand should go in the bottom. Turn the steam on and slowly bring the want to near the top of the milk. There should not be any big bubbles in the milk. Instead of the frothy foam that normally is on the top of espresso drinks, we want to create a velvety smooth consistency in the milk.
When the milk reaches 80 degrees Fahrenheit put the steam want along the side of the pitcher, deep in the milk. The pitcher should be positioned to spin counterclockwise. Do this motion until the temperature of the milk reaches 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the wand from the milk.
The milk should be vigorously swirled. If any bubbles form, pound the pitcher on the counter to dissipate them. Go back to swirling the milk for another 25 seconds. The swirling should be done even while the espresso is pouring.
To make a flower pattern, start pouring the milk about an inch from the bottom of the cup. Once the cup is nearly half full, shake the pitcher with a back and forth motion while gradually moving the pitcher backwards. The flower pattern will move forward and fill the cup. The shaking motion should come from the wrist and not involve your hand moving back and forth. When the foam gets to the top of the cup, pour the milk up the middle of the pattern. Use only as much milk as needed because too much will sink the flower.
To make a heart shaped pattern, use the same shaking motion used to make the flower. This time however, instead of moving your hand backwards you will want to keep you hand in one area and create a ringed circle.
Remember, latte art takes a lot of practice to perfect. Even if your artwork doesn’t turn out perfectly you are still left with a great tasting cup of espresso to enjoy for your efforts.