12 Beginners’ Hacks To Create Your Own Latte Art
Everybody wants to wake up to a nice and warm cup of coffee. It’s basic and necessary for all caffeine-driven individuals. Although several people prefer purely black coffee, some also prefer a beautiful cup of coffee with art, thus the latte art addiction.
It’s understandable! Sometimes, drinking the same old coffee can get boring and so latte art is invented to spice up your coffee-drinking game. Creating latte art is a skill and just like any other skills, it requires patience and practice. You can even make it at your own home.
To start with, you will need the following materials:
• A cup (wide-mouthed is recommended)
• A pitcher or a jug
• A thermometer & steam wand
• A latte art tool; if unavailable, you can also use toothpick or skewer
• Espresso machine; if unavailable, you can use a microwave
• Chocolate syrup (optional)
- To create creamy milk foam, you need cold milk. Full fat milk or whole milk is highly preferred. It should be fresh and shouldn’t be exposed to heat or light before steaming. Remember – only steam what you need because you should steam the milk only once. No re-steaming!
- Use a clean and cold stainless steel pitcher or jug with a narrow stream. Fill it up with just enough milk for your cup of latte.
- Before using the steam wand, clear it from any condensation by turning the steam on all the way so that it has 1 bar of steam pressure. If the steam tip has more holes, there’s more chance that the bubble texture is nice and tight.
- When steaming milk, you can use a thermometer with a clip so that it’s attached to the jug. Adjust the thermometer correctly and wait until the heat reaches 140-180 F. If you see some big bubbles, gently tap the pitcher of milk on a table or counter top to get rid of the bubbles. Once it looks creamy, you’re ready to pour it to your coffee.
- If you don’t own a home espresso machine, there’s actually a way for you to microwave your milk and still come up with a decent cup of latte.
- Before you can achieve a good looking latte art, you have to learn how to make a good espresso and milk. So go make a fresh espresso drink with a thick and strong layer of crema and consistently make silky and glossy milk foam. This helps in creating better latte art.
- Ideally, 7-8 grams of ground espresso makes a perfect shot. Remember not to let it sit for more than 10 seconds before pouring the milk.
- Stick to a wide-mouthed low cup when you’re practicing instead of switching from one type of cup to another. This way you can focus on just one type of cup for the time being and eventually master your design using that cup.
- Before pouring the milk, make sure you swirl the pitcher to incorporate the foam into the milk. When the foam and the milk separate too much, it will be difficult to create a nice latte art.
- Remember to pour the milk as soon possible after steaming. Don’t pour too slowly because this will leave the foam behind the jug but also don’t pour too quickly because this will break the crema of your espresso. The goal is for the milk to break through the crema and not break it apart. Take control of the flow.
- Start your design by tilting the cup slightly and pouring milk at the middle of the cup or as close to it as possible. This helps push the layers around to create good contrast and symmetry.
- When pouring the milk, this rhyme from Serious Eats appears to be handy: Start high and slow, then bring it down low. Finish it off with increase the flow. Hold your pitcher or jug just high enough to not create splashes and mess. Bring it down low for the pitcher to touch the cup so that more design will appear. Then after bringing it down, increase the flow to finish off your cup of latte
Below is a demonstration of how to pour milk to create your own latte art. Video courtesy of Howcast.
It might look easy but it’s actually tricky, and you’ll only get better with practice. That includes practicing how to make the perfect espresso, how to steam milk, and how to pour it to your coffee. There are also lots of videos to refer to on YouTube so you might want to consider checking some if you really want to get better with latte art. Have fun and good luck!