Homemade Latte Hearts

I’ve been playing around with pouring latte art on with my super basic home setup, tweaking several variables.

Bean: A couple lighter roasts from my Driftaway Coffee tasting kit, which I don’t like for pourover, then just some backup beans at home, currently Starbucks Breakfast Blend.

Grind: The “espresso” grind on Bodum Bistro isn’t fine enough for what I need now. There’s not enough pressure to even think about crema, and because I have a super cheapo steam driven espresso machine it doesn’t allow enough steam to build up to attempt microfoam. Thankfully, I have a Hario hand grinder that goes all the way to so-fine-you’ll-make-your-espresso-machine-explode. I know this because I was pretty sure the machine was going to explode last week. Crema is still hard to come by, but I’m managing some, which is better than none.

Steam: The steam wand on my 15 year old Krups Il Primo doesn’t move, so I have to tilt the entire thing to get the angle I need. After that, I have a choice of using the foam attachment or going without. I can’t quite get good foam without, partly because the wand is just a little short for my 20 oz pitcher, and maybe because it’s tiny and doesn’t drive enough volume for a good slurp. I’m managing to get almost-microfoam with the attachment if I plug the air hole on it.

Pitcher: The pointy pour pitcher is definitely the way to go. I’m considering downgrading to a smaller size, though, to compensate for the short steam wand.

So far, I’ve managed to pour two hearts. The first one was tiny and semi-accidental. Today’s was small but not tiny, and totally on purpose. Even better, I finished the pour with the foam just rising over the rim.

One of these days I’ll remember to have my phone handy so I can document it. It’s hard to remember when I haven’t had my coffee yet.

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