Making Latte Art is not what it looks like
Those darn baristas. It’s day 120 or so in this business and I’ve learned through jug after jug of milk that making a good coffee is harder than it looks. Those baristas make latte art look way easier than it has made out to be.
I’ve waitressed, worked in you name it customer service before and no one is nice to a waitress, and you can forget about the salesman. But a barista, thank the heavens, a barista is treated like a god or goddess by the people.
Before I was allowed to touch the precious grinder, I had to try with my biggest smile to wrangle a meak hello out of these guys and now, that I’m behind the machine, comes the smiles, rays of sunshine, rainbows, sweet conversation, what is your name? Is that Beirut you’re playing?
The milk here is like a cappuccino. The latte art here is a heart. Get rid of excess air bubbles by tapping it hard on the bench. The color is good here. We don’t want that in-between beige color in the latte art, just the white foam through the crema.
This is barista basics. Extracting a good shot. You want to cut it off once the drip becomes a bit transparent, and you can see the coffee has been properly extracted. About 27 seconds. The color of the drip will be a bit lighter than this.
Your leaf will come naturally in your latte art. You can see the start of the leaf or rosetta here. Start with a heart though and the rest will follow. From the heart it just takes a few wiggles and a bit of a lift to get the finer lines.
Don’t drink too much coffee when you’re behind the machine! Stick to tea for lunch
Beginner’s mistake. The foam has to be right to pour a good coffee and make nice latte art. You don’t want to burn the milk so make sure your milk frother is away from all the edges. Have the milk jug at a comfortable angle and angled towards you when you are frothing. It is about 50% frothing and then 50% smoothing until the milk is the perfect temperature. Use your hand to judge, even if there are thermometers around. Cafes all have their preferences but it’s best to be able to judge with your hand, or about 60 degrees Celsius you want to quickly take the steamer out.
Only way to make latte art is to practice practice practice. Some people pick it up faster than others so don’t beat yourself up if you still don’t have the rosetta. These took me over 6 months to pour and I’m still learning.