How to Make Latte Art at Home
For many of us, latte art is a mystery. The way baristas create designs like hearts and tulips seems like magic. But with the right gear and a bit of practice, you can create your own latte art at home. Watch as Starbucks coffee master Jacob Weber walks you through the basics, from how to get the right consistency in your foamed milk to creating the popular heart pattern.
Latte art first appeared in the United States with the introduction of espresso and micro-foam in the 80’s. It became popular in Seattle, then spread to the rest of the country. Designs are made by pouring dense, foamed milk (known as “micro-foam”) into shots of espresso.
Here’s the gear and steps to get started at home. Remember to be patient as you practice, as latte art takes time to master. But to us that’s half the fun.
What You’ll Need
• Espresso maker with a steam wand
• Metal steaming pitcher with a pointed spout
• Wide, shallow coffee cup
• Milk (whole milk is easiest to pour)
• Coffee, finely ground. Jacob recommends Starbucks® Espresso Roast or Veranda Blend®.
1) Make espresso shots.
2) Fill pitcher with cold milk to the bottom of pour spout dent.
3) Aerate milk for about 3 seconds by keeping the tip of the wand near the surface of the milk. You should hear a paper-tearing sound.
4) Submerge wand toward bottom of pitcher to get milk to spin in a whirlpool motion.
5) Heat milk to 150 degrees. Use a thermometer, or stop when you can’t touch the pitcher for more than an instant.
6) “Groom” the milk by tapping pitcher on counter and swirling gently by hand. This will pop any big bubbles and maintain micro-foam.
7) Pour high to start. Tilt coffee cup as you pour a pencil-thin stream of milk into the center of the espresso.
8) Pour low when cup is half full. Lower pitcher to just above the surface.
9) Lay foam. Fill cup till a circle of white foam begins to form.
10) Make your design. Using your wrist move pitcher slightly side to side to “draw.”
11) Finish. Slowly tilt pitcher back and draw the stream back through center of the design.
Keep your milk pitcher in the refrigerator — this allows you to steam your milk longer for better texture.
Use a smaller steaming pitcher for home espresso machines, and a larger one for professional grade machines.