Creating Latte Art At Home

by | Jul 10, 2017 | coffee | 0 comments

Everyone enjoys a cup of coffee. On any given day, nothing calms our senses better than a well-brewed cup of coffee. It gets more interesting when you have artistic shapes at the top of your cup. It is Latte Art, a coffee facility that is quickly gaining interest and traction not only among coffee lovers but also for coffee shop owners who noticed how their coffee shops grew in fame thanks to it.

The art of Latte

Close-up of hand-holding cappuccino making latte art

There are many people who are thinking of doing latte art is such a complex skill that requires detailed instruction plus the necessary investment in coffee machines and other hardware. Even suggested is to learn how to make latte art in Coffee Barista workshops. This is actually not a bad idea as each person’s learning curve is different. Some people learn faster through step-by-step instruction, which you can definitely get by signing up for a Barista workshop.

The problem with barista workshops, however, is that these are quite expensive and time consuming. There are culinary schools that already consider latte art as an individual subject, so you can understand why a significant fee is charged for learning the skills. Good investment if your purpose is to work in an espresso bar and eventually open your own. But if you are only learning latte art just for fun, this route may not be the most ideal for you.

Breville BES870XL Espresso Machine Breville BES870XL Espresso Machine (click to enlarge)

Another suggestion most people think about latte art expensive hardware is needed like a fancy espresso machine. There is a certain truth in it because it makes things simpler, from heating milk and creation to the point where you put the final espresso touch. But if your ultimate goal is just latte art on your favorite coffee cup, do you really need a thousand dollar contraction for it?

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Learning to make latte art from the comforts of home does not have to be expensive or require much of your time. Learning to make latte art requires that you have a few kitchen utensils, such as. A microwave and maybe even a stainless steel jug. You may also need a milk frother.

Latte Art’s Medium – Microfoam Milk

MatchaDNA automatic milk frother, heater and cappuccino that makes a carafe of Phillipe Taglioni - cappuccino

Every kind of art has its medium or building block. In the case of Latte Art, the primary medium is micro-foam milk. Creating micro-foam milk is the key to creating Latte art forms because without this, you will most likely not be able to form any shape at all, not even a simple ellipse! Learning to make micro-skim milk is the first step towards creating homemade Latte Art.

Here are some guidelines for creating your first batch of microfoam milk:

  1. As anyone is likely to guess, you need to heat the milk. This is not your usual way of heating, just to pasteurize and make safe for consumption. Micro-skimmed milk must be heated to controlled temperatures. Too high and the milk does not even foam. Too low and the milk foams too much. It must be right at the right heat level.
  2. Experienced producers of Latte Art recommend heating the milk at temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees Celsius. Some would go so far as to recommend that you use a thermometer, preferably an analog one, to monitor the heat. With patience and careful monitoring, you can actually see when it is already at the right temperature using the shape of the bubbles and the behavior of the milk.
  3. One of the best ways to heat milk at the right level is to use a microwave oven (hence the recommendation we made earlier). Put the milk in the microwave, set it to the desired temperature, and then heat it for a little less than a minute. Let it remain for approx. 3 minutes, then heat it up again, this time for a little less than 30 seconds. The repeated reheating is to ensure that the milk has the right temperature when you decide to pour the espresso.
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Milk jug, X-Chef stainless steel milk cup Milk foam jug 600 ml 20fl ozPut foam in micro foam

Now that you have micro-skim milk, it’s time to use the milk frother. Put the milk in the stainless steel jug, then tilt it slightly sideways. Now insert the frother, one hand holding the jug and the other holding the frother. Turn on the skimmer and watch as a mini-hot tub is set up as the air begins to enter your batch of microfoam milk. You will observe that bubbles slowly form and then burst. Do not stop the skimmer until all the bubbles formed are gone. This should ensure adequate foaming for your first Latte artwork.

Not that you have your medium for your Latte Art, it’s time to move towards making your first work of art. We go with one of the most basic, yet infamous among Latte Art, the heart.

Your first latte art, the heart

Latte Art with heart design

One of the easiest to make, yet never fails to tickle anyone in the coffee shop, the heart is a great starting point for your first Latte Art. Take your stainless steel jug, which now contains your nicely made batch of skimmed micro-foam milk. With the other hand, hold your signature mug that already contains coffee, probably about one-fifth of that. Make sure that the jug is kept at such a height that when you pour the milk, it immediately hits the bottom of the cup.

When pouring the milk, look closely at the level at which the cup is filled. When it is about three quarters full, start shaking the jug. Then stop shaking and bring the jug closer to the cup while pouring. White circles should soon begin to form with this. When the cup is full, pour milk in one direction to the other and through the middle. You need to be able to form a heart at the end of it.

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Once you have started making molds with microfoam milk, it should be possible to create other Latte Art molds. You can also try experimenting with other ingredients like chocolate syrup and then shape more complex art using a toothpick.

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