How To Make Latte Art At Home
Have you ever wondered how your favourite barista makes those beautiful pieces of latte art when you order your caffeinated beverages? Now you can master that art at home! (4 min read).
At its caffeinated core, a latte is basically an espresso that has been mixed with steamed milk. This combination culminates into a foamy surface that can be sculpted into sippable pieces of art.
While the espresso base is important in the creation of latte art, it is the technique for steaming milk that really makes the difference.
In order to properly steam the milk for your coffee drink, you are going to need a commercial grade milk steaming wand and a milk frothing pitcher. More often than not, these come with a top-quality espresso maker.
Fill your pitcher with enough milk to reach the bottom of the spout. Turn on the wand and continuously dip and then raise the want to the point where you can hear it let out a little hissing noise. Be careful not to raise it too far or you’ll see large bubbles forming. Large bubbles do not make good latte art. The milk should be swirling evenly.
Once the milk has reached somewhere between 140°F and 180°F, you can turn off the wand. Until you get to know the right feel for the temperature, you can use a clip-in thermometer to ensure accuracy.
Give the pitcher a firm tap or two on a counter or cutting board in order to break up any large bubbles that may have formed. The thicker and more even the foam, the better.
Now comes the fun part!
Grab a rounded, bow-shaped cup and pour your espresso in first. Add a small amount of the steamed milk and swirl to blend. Now it’s time to make art!
Slowly pour the milk from a relatively high distance away from the cup. slowly and evenly at a fairly high distance. This allows the milk and espresso to continue incorporating. You can pour in a circular motion to ensure it mixes well. But you only want to fill the cup about halfway before you change the pouring technique to allow you to draw your artwork.
As you reach the midway point in the cup, lower the milk pitcher closer to the coffee surface. This keeps the milk from automatically mixing with the espresso.
One traditional technique is to start on the far side of the cup and pour the foam across the cup until you finish on your site, this creates a milky white circle of foam. Once you reach your side of the cup, quickly drag the pitcher back across the cup. This – effectively – divides the circle into the shape of a heart.
A leaf can be made in the same way, except that instead of creating a basic circle, you move the pitcher in a zig-zag motion back and forth across the cup fore dividing it with the stem of the leaf.
Make sure to clean the steaming wand immediately after each use. Nobody likes little bits of old milk being steamed into their next latte! Even if you are making multiple lattes in a row, you still clean the wand and pulse it on and off a couple times before steaming the next batch of milk. This ensures that the want is free of any remnants from the last batch.
Now you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your beautiful cup of coffee. Or impress your guests. It’s your choice!