Latte Art Secrets for Beginners
November 8th, 2008
By Andréanne Hamel and Luc Cloutier
When ordering a cup of cappuccino or caffe latte at the coffee house, you can easily tell if the barista truly has a passion for making a great cup of brew with a simple look. How? If the barista has taken the time to create an attractive design with the foam, such as the popular leaf design or even a heart or an apple, it shows that he or she has taken the time necessary to perfect the craft. If you want to create a cup of latte that looks just as appealing as the ones you buy at the coffee shop, follow these simple steps for beginners and you will soon find your creativity and the latte flowing.
Step 1: Get the Proper Machine
You don't have to go out and spend big bucks to purchase a top espresso machine in order to engage in the craft of latte art, though a machine such as the Bialetti stovetop will not work because it does offer the possibility to steam milk. Almost any espresso machine will work if it has milk steaming capabilities. Still, having a top end machine or using a product such as the Breville Café Roma certainly can help make it easier to learn the secrets of latte art. Regardless of the machine you use, however, you will need to remove your turbo nozzles before getting started.
Step 2: Preparing the Milk
Next, you need to pour enough milk to make one cup of latte into the steam pitcher. Then, place the steam wand at the bottom of the pitcher and turn on the steam. Raise the steam wand until it is almost to the top of the milk while lowering the pitcher at the same time. The trick here is to avoid stretching the milk too much or making bubbles appear, as you want your milk to be smooth and velvety. In order to avoid overstretching, it is important to only use cold milk to start the process.
Step 3: Achieve the Right Temperature
Once the milk hits 80 degrees, tuck in steam wand while spinning the pitcher in a counterclockwise direction so you can create a whirlpool. Continuing moving the pitcher until the milk reaches 150 to 160 degrees. Once it reaches this temperature, you can shut it off.
Step 4: Start Swirling
You are now ready to start swirling the milk. Continue swirling for about 20 to 30 seconds as the espresso is pouring. You are now ready to start pouring in the milk.
Step 5: Make a Pattern
The most common pattern is the flower design, which you can create by pouring the milk in at the bottom of the cup. When the cup is half full, begin shaking the pitcher in a back and forth motion as you slowly move it backward. You will notice the flower design forming in a forward direction. After it reaches the top, pour additional milk through the middle.
With a little practice, you will eventually be able to create a great flower pattern. Once you have this basic design down, let your creativity go wild and see what else you can design!
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