Drinking coffee is more than just about the taste; it’s an experience to be cherished with all your senses.
Why else do you think something as simple as latte art has people crowding around in coffee shops, relishing a mug of coffee for hours, and snapping Instagram-able shots of these relentlessly.
On days when you don’t feel like dragging yourself to a café or if you’d rather put your creativity to the test, a little latte DIY project can be quite fulfilling.
If you weren’t already familiar with the term, latte art is created when steamed milk is added to a mug of coffee (typically an espresso), that is then woven into unique patterns resting on the coffee surface.
Here are some tips to make beautiful latte art at home.
Whip the Milk into Shape
For starters, you should use steamed milk. There are 2 factors to be mindful of when you are preparing the milk for latte art - texture and amount.
The milk shouldn’t be too thick or thin; that way it’ll hold the pattern and not get mixed in with the coffee from the get-go.
If too much air has gotten into the milk during the steaming, it’ll blanket the coffee rather than take the shape of the design you’re trying to form. And you’ll know this when you see that the milk has become far too bubbly and foamy.
So how to know you’ve got the right texture? Its consistency should be thicker than the coffee itself but not by too much. Anyway, don’t worry about it in the beginning. Some trial and error will get you on the right path.
Apart from the texture of the milk, the amount and temperature also matter. The amount of milk in the pitcher is something you’ll get hang of once you practice.
Too much milk could compel you to pour at a faster speed, but this will only end up oversaturating the drink before you’ve even begun with the design.
Frame the Design Before Adding Details
Latte art, just like any other art form, is all about envisioning it right. Start big before you focus on the details.
As you’re pouring the milk, keep in mind the structure of your design so that the fundamental piece is secured. You can make it intricate later, whether that’s by creating striations or adding additional design elements around the main piece.
Pour to the centre of the cup so that the milk can spread out in branches. If you keep to the edges of the cup, you’ll soon realize that there will be very little room to finish off the design with high definition.
Move the Cup & Jug to Control the Pattern
You might think it a precarious situation to finally get started with the latter art. We get it; seeing blobs of microfoam can be disheartening when you’ve planned it all out.
But don’t hesitate from moving the cup as you need, whether it’s tilting it one way or shortening the distance between the jug and the surface of the drink.
Creating latte art is one of those instinctual things. Trust your intuition and go with the flow. In the beginning, you might think that’s wasted advice, but it’s actually not. The way you position the tools will give you better control of the pattern.
Be Quick on Your Feet but Be Patient
The speed with which you pour the milk and your wrist movement as the milk falls onto the crema are two factors that largely determine the outcome of your latte art.
If you want a high-quality design, you need to be able to think ahead without becoming impatient.
Now there are two mistakes to avoid. Hesitating or being too slow in your movements will hamper the finish of the design; you may lose your rhythm or occasionally spot a disconnection between parts of the design.
Move too fast, and the mug will get filled up real quick. So the pace at which you move should always transition from slower to faster.
Have a firm grip on the mug and pitcher. This will make the design even and less lopsided.
Practice to your heart’s content, and you’ll soon have a party trick of your own to show off at gatherings.
If nothing else, you can enjoy delicious and beautiful coffee at home.