You can’t be a barista if you don’t know how to make latté art.
Just kidding. But it is a fun skill to pick up and practice if you ever have a slow shift. Latté art is when you pour steamed milk into espresso in such a way that it results in a gorgeous, van-Gogh-esque design. It can be so beautiful, you almost don’t want to drink it.
Step One: Steam the Milk
Keep the wand submerged in milk. The milk should be a-swirling and bubbles a-disappearing. Steam until the milk becomes 140 degrees. This is where a thermometer comes in handy.
Important Note: Get the Right Microfoam
In order to ensure top-notch latté art, you need to get just the right microfoam. This means holding the wand halfway through the radius of the milk pitcher. When the milk becomes as frothy as seafoam on Daytona Beach, plunge the wand close to the bottom of the pitcher.
Step Two: Swirl the Milk
Slam the pitcher of steamed milk against the counter. This will get all the bubbles popping. Swirl the milk—it should look almost like paint.
Step Three: Add the Milk to the Espresso
Tilt the cup of espresso towards you. Pour the milk and be sure that the crema—the nutty brown foam at the top of espresso—doesn’t break apart. Crema is your friend when you’re making latté art.
Tip: Add a Dash of Cinnamon
Optional but it’s the secret to clearly defined latté art.
Step Four: Make Some Art!
When the cup is half full, tilt it upright. At this point, white foam from the milk should be appearing in the espresso. Now’s the time to wiggle your hands and get creative!
For Palate, we like our swan art.
Step Five: Instagram It
Because is it even latté art if you don’t pair it with #coffeeaddict?
And there you have it! But don’t worry, like all art, latté art takes practice. You just need creativity and a little determination.