Latte art is a fascinating art form that has become an important part of coffee culture, it is made by pouring steamed milk into a shot of espresso. You may look forward to seeing what design your barista will put on your latte when placing an order in your local coffee shop. The combination of the rich brown espresso and the creamy pale steamed milk creates a canvas for baristas to express their creativity. The most popular designs include hearts, tulips and Rosettas.
Latte art requires a combination of skill and creativity, you must carefully pour the steamed milk into the espresso in a way that creates a visually pleasing design. The key to making great latte art is to create a smooth and consistent texture in the steamed milk, and to pour the milk in a controlled manner.
Have you ever wondered if you could achieve latte art in your family kitchen? Read our guide below to help get you started:
Here’s Our Simple Baytown Latte Art Guide:
- Preparing The Milk
We recommend putting your pitcher of milk into the fridge for 20 to 30 minutes, to cool it down before starting. This gives you more time to work with your milk when you start to steam it, as it will heat up fast.
- Pull the Espresso
You should start pulling espresso shots before you steam your milk so both can be happening at the same time, and neither is left sitting for too long on the side. A single shot of espresso should contain around 9 grams of coffee and a double shot should be 18 grams ground for espresso.
Use a reasonable amount of pressure to ‘tamp’ the coffee in the portafilter.
Time to pull the espresso shots. The perfect shot should have a thick rich layer on the top known as ‘crema’.
Pull your shot within 27 seconds. The espresso should be perfectly balanced and not too bitter of too sour, if you pull as close to the 27 second mark as possible.
After this, it’s time to pour your espresso shot into your favourite cup. Don’t let your shot sit for too long as you risk not being able to create the perfect latte art if the crema begins to break up.
- Start Steaming
Position the steam wand into the milk jug, more towards the side of the jug, but not touching the side. The tip of the wand should be just below the surface of the milk. Now turn on the steam and let the milk reach 37 degrees. The milk should start to spin and create a vortex in the jug. While this is happening you should hear a quiet hissing noise – this is the air being forced into the milk which is very important for that creamy end-result.
If the steam wand is positioned too high, you will see milk splattering out of the jug and large bubbles forming. Alternatively, if the steam wand is too low you will not hear the hissing noise and very little air will be worked into the milk.
- Keep It Going
Once the milk reaches around 37 degrees, lift the milk jug up slightly so that the wand is further in the milk but maintain the motion above. When your milk reaches around 65 degrees turn off the steam and wipe down the steam wand with a damp cloth – be careful not to steam the milk above 70 degrees, this will scald the milk and affect the taste.
Top Tip: Remember to clean your steam wand after each use - this prevents milk building up and blocking the nozzle on the wand and turning sour.
- Time to Swirl
At the end of the process, allow the milk a few seconds to stand – then it’s time to swirl in the jug. This will create a velvety texture within the micro foam. If you notice any bubbles, tap your pitcher on the counter multiple times before continuing to swirl for 20 - 30 seconds.
- Release Your Inner Artist
Remember to be mindful of height, position and flow when pouring from your pitcher.
Hold your cup at an angle and remember not to pour too quickly. Start your pour slightly higher, until the cup is almost half full and then lower, so you’re closer to the surface. When the cup is about half full, start to pour to the back of the cup.
Latte Art - How to create a Rosetta (Leaf)
Pour the milk as you move the jug from side to side and slowly begin to move backwards, to start creating your pattern. When you reach the edge of your cup, quickly raise the jug up while still pouring to create a straight line through the middle of the pattern.
You can change Rosetta sizes by adjusting your side-to-side movement, slowly for thick lines and quickly for lots of small lines.
Latte Art - How to create a Heart
Pour your milk in the centre of your cup and continue until you create a large circle of crema.
Move the jug slightly forward and continue to pour on the big spot of foam, until your cup is almost full.
Finish your heart by pouring in a quick straight line forward.
Occasionally something may go wrong these are our top tips to stop any problems:
Your milk has separated – the milk has settled in the jug as it hasn’t been swirled after steaming or before pouring.
No micro foam visible on the surface – you’ve lifted your pitcher too early or too high. You need the milk to balance on the surface, so don’t pour from too high up or too fast.
The surface of your coffee is all white – if your pitcher is too close, you won’t have the opportunity to create a pattern as the milk has rolled onto the surface of your crema or your milk is too foamy which means you don’t have micro foam, you have dense foam which cannot be created into latte art.