Latte art – A Beginner’s Guide

Latte art is artfully pouring steamed milk onto an espresso or similar coffee drink surface to create designs or patterns. This technique includes putting micro-foam into a shot of espresso and creating a pattern or design on the surface. Latte Art isn’t the ultimate and final act of making a perfect cup of coffee. But it is a standard in the coffee community. It adds a touch of flair and thoughtfulness to Espresso-based drinks. Our passion is coffee, and we like everything about it. To make a comprehensive beginner’s guide, we spoke with our coffee community, gaining insights from both the experts and aspirant baristas.

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Confusion when it comes to Latte arts

According to baristas, a superb cup of latte requires two crucial ingredients: a fresh shot of espresso with crema and appropriately textured steamed milk. However, is that all? No.

“There are basic doubts that pop up when I think about making latte art. Like the temperature requirements and the optimal ratio of fat to milk. What is the perfect temperature range for steaming milk? And does it differ with designs or types of milk or nondairy products?”

Says Harshita Harsh, a member of our #gloo coffee community, who is a coffee brewer and a coffee enthusiast.

Starting points for Latte art

  • Whole milk is used to make the greatest latte art. For a dairy-free alternative, try oat milk, but it’s not the same. Because whole milk has the most milk fat, it produces the best microfoam. Milk is made of sugar, fat, and proteins. Steaming breaks them into smaller, simpler molecules. For best denaturing the milk needs to have plenty of fats and sugars, hence whole milk works best. Use whole milk.
  • Fresher milk froths better, while colder milk steams better. Keep your steaming jug as cool as possible. This also prevents the milk from scorching.
  • When milk is poured too slowly, it separates in the pitcher, resulting in less-aerated milk going into the latte art.
  • Do not lift the pitcher away from the liquid surface: When you lift the pitcher away from the beverage’s surface, the milk dives into the crema rather than remaining on top of it to build your painting.
  • Avoid keeping the pitcher’s spout too near to the drink surface: This has the opposite effect since the milk tends to skim the surface of the beverage, preventing a pattern from forming.

Refer to the video: Beginner’s Guide to pouring & Latte art

Words of wisdom from #Gloo-Coffee-Community’s experts

To make this Beginner’s Guide as helpful as we can, we spoke with two home baristas from our own #Gloo coffee community. Let’s hear what tips and tricks they have to share, in their own words.

Ankit Makhija: Home-Barista from #Gloo Coffee Community

Ankit Makhija Instagram Profile

Coffee art “Hello Brewers, I am Ankit and I have been making latte arts for 6months now.

There is so much you can do in latte art. My normal ritual is to make espresso first and then start frothing milk (cold from the fridge). I have tried toned, double toned, Full cream, and cow milk

I prefer the taste of cow milk and it is easiest to froth. To make latte art you will have to first learn how to froth milk properly. And for this you need practice. To avoid milk wastage I used to practice with water and a drop of soap.
It will give you an idea of how to froth the milk and give it a velvety texture (it’s all about introducing bubbles in the milk and mixing this milk while heating it with the steam)After you master frothing milk it’s all about patience. I have been trying to pour at least one coffee daily.

I use a Budan espresso machine to make my coffee and this is my setup. To begin, I suggest starting with monk heads and hearts.

  1. Start by keeping the jug 5cm above the top of the cup.
  2. Fill half the cup and then slowly move the tip close to the cup and pour faster. At the end swipe forward to finish.
    For reference, you can start by watching Lance Hendricks’s you-tube videos.

Coffee art

Coffee arts will take time so be patient. Someday you will pour like a barista, another day not so much. It’s all about practice and enjoying the process.

Happy Brewing!”

“Live: Learn Latte art in 8 mins with Lance Hedrick”

Rohan Kalikar: Data Analyst & Home-Barista from #Gloo Coffee Community

“Hello Coffee lovers, I am Rohan. And I have began my latte art journey, few months ago.

For creating art over any milk-based coffee you have to start with an espresso shot at the bottom.

Milk is usually steamed using the steaming wand on an espresso machine. It incorporates air into the milk while heating it. This is used to create microfoam. The milk should be 65-70 degree Celsius.

Once milk is done, pour it over the espresso. Swirl the espresso first, then tilt the mug and start pouring with the milk pitcher. Key is to start at a distance and pour in circular direction. Here, you are creating a base called ‘canvas’ for your art. At this point, half the cup should be filled with espresso.

Now bring the pitcher closer to the surface or the canvas. And start pouring, while straightening your cup. Simple pouring will create solid objects, jiggling the pitcher will create more netted art. I make my espresso using the Wacaco Nanopress and use a foamer to foam it.

I suggest making calculations using a thermometer and the amount of milk to find how many minutes it takes to reach 65 degrees.

In the end, coffee art is about experiments and enjoying your coffee.” 

We hope you found that insightful. Latte art – A Beginner’s Guide is just the first, in our Home-Barista series. Do sure to stick by.

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