Latte Art: Pouring the pretty stuff
While there are a few baristas among us, the average Joe merely admires those patterns that top of the perfect cup of coffee. Here’s how to get the ideal cup on your own!
Step One – It’s all in the milk
Cold and fresh. The two main points. Now, it is definitely easier to pour latte art with full fat milk, however if you’re a skiing latte kinda guy; go for it.
Step 2 – Jugs Out!
You’ll need a stainless steel jug to get that milk hot. It will work best if your jug is clean and cold before use. Only pour in enough milk for your cup.
Step 3 – Hot hot!
A thermometer will make the whole process far easier. 70 degrees is the ideal temp for that coffee.
Step 4 -Steamin’
The steam wand needs to be turned on all the way. Purge the wand before you use to make sure it is clear of any condensation.
Step 5 – Coffee in the cup
Of course, what is a coffee with out the espresso! Get that coffee in your cup before you start pouring the milk. It can be very difficult to create good latte art without crema on your espresso.
Step 6- Here’s the tricky part..
Start with the steam wand inside the milk. Turn on the steam completely. Hold the jug with two hands. Slowly lower the jug until the tip of the steam wand breaches the surface of the milk. You should hear a sh-sh-sh sound (high chirping sound). Do this for only a few seconds, this is when you are forcing the bubbles in to the milk to create foam, it is called foaming or stretching. Be very careful when you lower the jug, you should not see any bubbles being formed. You should hear the foam being created but you should not see it. You only need to foam for a few seconds, do not make the mistake to foam too much. Do not foam over 40 degrees Celsius or 100 Fahrenheit.
Once you have enough foam insert the steam wand deeper into the milk. There is no need to move the jug up and down. You should have a whirlpool inside the jug, you are now texturing the milk. The milk is now twirling inside the jug and any bubbles that might be present will dissolve into the milk. Once you have reached about 60 to 65 degrees Celsius turn off the steam. Then take out the steam wand and clean it with a clean cloth.
Put the jug down with a slight tap on the work top. This will destroy any tiny bubbles that might have been visible on the surface. You should not have any more bubbles visible after this. If you do then you can gently tap the jug a few times on the counter to get rid of them. However, tapping the jug on the counter makes the foam thicker and is not advisable. If you foam and steam the milk with the right technique then you should not have to tap the jug on the counter.
Pour the milk as soon as possible. This is very important because the foam will start separating very quickly. Spin the milk around just before you pour to make sure that all the foam is mixed with the milk.
Pouring The Milk
We suggest that you steam the milk whilst the espresso is being brewed.
Start with the pour a little high. Once the cup is about half full lower the pour close to the crema and the foam should appear. Go from high to low and pour with a steady speed.
You should pour the milk as soon as possible. Hold the cup on it’s ear and slightly at an angle. Start pouring the milk slowly in to the crema. You do not want to pour to slowly, this will leave the foam behind in the jug. You also do not want to pour too quick because this will break the crema apart. Pour slowly in a few spots in the cup to break through the crema.
Start pouring the milk in to the back of the cup once the cup seems just more than half full. Now slowly but very steady move the pitcher from side to side. This is a wrist movement and should be done just slightly. The milk should not swing from side to side in the jug. Keep moving it side to side in one spot in the cup until you see the foam appearing. If you see this happening than you have cracked it!
Once you see the foam break through the crema you can start pouring patterns.
Rosetta / Leaf
Move the jug side to side until you see the foam appearing on the surface. Keep moving the jug side to side until you see a pattern appear. Now slowly move the jug backwards whilst still moving it side to side. When you have reached the end of the cup move the jug in a quick straight line through the pattern.
Quick movements from side to side will create a rosetta with lots of leafs. Slow movements from side to side will create less and thick leaves.
Move the jug side to side in one spot in the cup. Keep doing this until you get a big circle of crema. Slightly move the jug forward just a bit. Then keep pouring the milk on the big spot of foam until the cup is almost full. Finally move the jug in a quick straight line forward to finish of your heart.”
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