Latte Art: How to Create It

Brittny Drye
7

What better way to start the day than to look down at your cappuccino and see a cute bunny staring back at you from the milk?

I've always wanted to learn how to do latte art -- those ridiculously amazing designs that I find in my coffee drinks at fancy cafes -- so I did some research.

Let's just say, I have a ton of respect for those talented baristas who do this on a regular basis ... it's a lot more complicated than it looks.

What you need:

  • Espresso
  • Stainless steel pitcher
  • Thermometer
  • Steam wand
  • Milk
  • Chocolate syrup and cocoa powder (optional)
  1. Pour enough cold milk for one cup into a stainless steel pitcher. Put the steam wand at the bottom of the pitcher. Turn on the steam and slowly raise the wand until it's near the top of the milk. Lower the pitcher as the milk rises so the steam wand stays 1 cm away from the top of the milk. Create a smooth, velvety milk, making sure there are no bubbles. You don't want it to look "foamy," like the foam that sits atop most espresso drinks.
  2. Allow the milk to reach a warm temperature, approximately 80ºF. Then place the steam wand on the side of the pitcher, deep into the milk, positioning the pitcher to spin counterclockwise. Keep doing this motion until the milk heats to 150ºF to 160ºF. Shut the steam off and remove the steam wand and thermometer from the milk. Clean the steam wand with a wet cloth.
  3. Vigorously swirl the milk. Before you swirl the milk, let it settle for a few seconds. If you see any bubbles, pound the pitcher on the counter several times and go back to swirling the milk for 20 to 30 seconds. Do this even while the espresso is pouring. 
  4. Start pouring the milk into the espresso. The pouring is the beginning of creating your design. Each design requires different methods. The video above shows how to create a heart, a puppy dog, and a couple of other pretty designs, but there are countless creations you can make using the milk, chocolate syrup, and etching patterns.

I may leave the coffee creativeness to the baristas ... I'll just enjoy looking (and then drinking) their coffee masterpieces.

Have you ever tried making latte art? What's your favorite design?


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