You probably think latte art is the exclusive realm of the fedora-topped baristas at your favorite independent coffee shop. But with a little practice, you, home latte lover, can create designs with steamed milk.
For National Coffee Day, we talked to Caffebene’s coffee quality manager George Kim, himself a skilled barista with a lot of latte art experience, about beautiful coffee. Here, step-by-step instructions on how to make three latte art classics.
A tip on milk: Kim recommends using 3 ounces of whole milk per ounce of espresso in your drink of choice for the best presentation (apologies to the skinny latte crowd), and it should be steamed to 140 to 160 degrees.
Basic: The Foam Heart
1. Tilt the cup toward you as you pour about 80 percent of the steamed milk into the cup.
2. Bring the pitcher to the cup’s edge that’s nearest you and shake it quickly from left to right to make a round shape.
3. After you create a round shape, move the pitcher in a straight line across the cup, away from you, to form a heart.
4. Serve to your special someone.
Intermediate: The Rabbit
1. Hold the pitcher about an inch above the coffee cup and pour the steamed milk into the cup at the inner edge closest to you.
2. Once you’ve poured about 80 percent of the milk into the cup, shake the pitcher quickly left to right, forming a round shape similar to what you did to make the heart.
3. Instead of drawing the pitcher to the far end of the cup, bring it to the center and pour until you form the outline of your rabbit.
4. Use something with a fine point (a pin or wooden skewer will work) and make two dots for the eyes and draw four lines outward from the center to make the rabbit’s whiskers.
5. Serve to your favorite animal lover.
Advanced: The Rosetta
1. Hold the pitcher about an inch above the coffee cup and begin pouring the steamed milk at the edge of the cup that is farthest from you.
2. Once you’ve poured about 50 percent of the milk, move the pitcher close to the surface of the cup and begin shaking it quickly left to right to form the layers of foam. They should look like branches or leaves.
3. As you start to see the layers, continue shaking the pitcher and move it toward the inner edge of the cup closest to you.
4. Once the layers of the rosetta are formed, continue pouring as you move the pitcher back toward the outer edge of the cup.
5. Serve to the first person who can correctly identify what a rosetta is.
George Kim is the coffee quality manager for Caffebene where he also trains young baristas at locations throughout the United States. In addition he has served as the sensory judge in the America’s Best Espresso Competition.