Creating great latte art is a learned skill, luckily if your looking to master the skill of producing great art for your cafe latte then look no further, this guide will take you through the steps of producing that elusive Rosetta or even a seductive love heart.
What you will need
You will only need a few things in order to produce great quality milk that is capable of being turned into latte art. If you own an espresso machine, then chances are you will already have them. Firstly, a milk pitcher suited to the size of the drinks that you will be making, yet with enough space to work the milk. The pitcher you choose will give you best results if you select one that has a defined pouring spout, this will give you greater definition in your art.
Secondly it is suggested that whenever you are preparing milk you make use of a thermometer. This is especially important when texturing milk for latte art because if you overheat your milk it is going to be difficult to maintain the micro foam needed for great art.
Finally of course best results will come if you have a traditional steam wand on your espresso machine, lower end or super-automatic machines with panarellos will not be as effective.
How Its Done
Your best latte art results will come when you produce a great micro foam, micro foam refers to a fine consistency foam created with micro sized bubbles when you are stretching/texturing your milk in the heating process. This is done by incorporating small amounts of air into the milk while you bring it up to drinking temperature.
Before you begin steaming, ensure you milk of choice is thoroughly chilled and that your steaming pitcher is preferably cool, not hot. The following steps will see you on your way to producing great latte art quality milk:
- Pour enough milk for one drink into your steaming pitcher
- Quickly purge the steam wand to release any water which may be in the lines- do this by opening the steam valve until steam comes out consistently.
- Submerge the steam wand into the milk and turn on the steam.
- Position the wand in the milk jug so that the milk starts rolling in the pitcher, it will look as if it is spinning around due to the force of the steam.
- At this point, lower the milk jug so that the tip of the steam wand is sitting just on the surface of the milk - you will hear a 'kissing' sound
- For a latte continue this 'kissing' sound for somewhere between 3-6 seconds. The time will depend on the power of your machine and you will need to experiment for what works best on your machine. The longer you spend 'kissing' or incorporating air into the milk, the more foam you will get.
- Once you have enough foam submerge the steam wand fully and continue to bring the milk up to heat, turn off the steam when your milk temperature reaches between 140 & 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
- You now need to work the milk to get any large bubbles out, start by gently tapping the milk jug on the bench until any large bubbles disappear, the slowly swirl the milk in the jug. This keeps the foam incorporated with the milk. Continue to swirl until your milk looks silky and has the appearance of wet paint.
- You are ready to pour - this takes practice to nail the latte art. Pour slowly approximately two thirds of the way across your cup, as your cup fills gently swing your milk jug side to side, while you pull it across the cup. This is creating the pattern in the crema, then when your cup is almost full finish by pouring the last bit of milk back through the middle of the pattern you have just created.
The key when creating beautiful latte art is not to rush the pouring of the milk, take it slowly and be consistent with the speed at which you pour. In addition to this, for simple art like hearts or Rosetta's these can be achieved in one pour. Now should you be more of a visual learner you can watch the videos below for an overview of the whole process.
Lastly, just like the old adage - if at first you don't succeed, try & try again. Latte art is a skill that needs practice so don't be disheartened if you can't nail it straight away. Besides even if there isn't nice art on top - it's still going to taste awesome so enjoy!!