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What is latte art?

Latte art is a technique that skilled Baristas use to present milk-based coffees beautifully, but also to demonstrate the care and precision that has gone into the preparation of the beverage.

Frothed vs. Textured Milk

What is the difference?

The common misconception is that “frothed” milk and “textured/steamed” milk are the same. They are not. Frothed milk is created using air and the resulting foam is weak, unstable and “frothy”. Textured milk is created by introduced steam (water) molecules into the milk by stretching and spinning it. It is actually the interaction of hydrophobic fat molecules in the milk with the water molecules in the steam, which produces the textured viscous foam of correctly steamed milk.

You would use frothed milk if you were making a cappuccino, as the bubbles help to create the light foam on top. You could also make the perfect hot chocolate by frothing your milk first. Steamed milk is used for lattes as the texture makes for a smooth drink and helps you to create the perfect design. You could also use your steamed milk to create Mocha or Chai drinks.

What Do You Need?

You will need several tools to create the perfect latte art

To create latte art, you will need:

  • Pitcher (preferably cold)
  • Espresso (well-pulled with a strong layer of crema)
  • Full Fat Milk (silky and velvety)
  • Patience!

How To Do Latte Art

Here are 5 steps for creating latte art

Step 1 – Chill your pitcher to keep your milk cold- this gives you more time to create the right texture.

Step 2 – Texture the milk using the correct milk steaming technique.

Step 3 – Extract your espresso correctly in order to produce a syrupy thick liquor, which will provide a good contrast with the milk.

Step 4 – Choose your design. We have included some basic designs below.

Step 5 – You must have practised muscle memory of the movements needed, so you can pour the textured milk in the correct high to low and side to side motions needed to create the desired pattern.

It is not easy at first but like riding a bike, you won’t forget it easily.

Tips for creating latte art:

  • Keep a steady speed
  • Tilt the cup
  • Pour into the middle of the cup (or the design will be pressed against one side)

Basic Latte Art Designs

Below are some popular latte art designs

There are many different kinds of latte art, such as a tulip and a wave design. However, the two designs below are most commonly seen in coffee shops. With patience, they are quite easy to learn. If you practice enough, one day you could be as good as these guys.

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Leaf Pattern

Step 1: Keep the cup tilted.

Step 2: Pour a small amount of milk into the espresso and swirl to combine.

Step 3: Pour into the middle from a height until the cup is half full.

Step 4: Lower the pitcher and lightly wiggle from the bottom of the cup (the lower tilted side) towards the top (the higher tilted side).

Step 5: The wiggle should create layers which get smaller towards the top of the cup.

Step 6: Once you have reached the other side of the cup, raise the pitcher and create a line back through the middle by pouring through the centre of the design.

Heart Pattern

Step 1: Keep the cup tilted.

Step 2: Pour a small amount of milk into the espresso and swirl to combine.

Step 3: Hold the pitcher about an inch away and continue pouring into the middle.

Step 4: Once a circle appears and the cup is almost full, raise the pitcher by an inch and pour a line away from yourself to create the bottom of the heart.

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