Inspired by a friend’s Facebook post a couple weeks ago, I popped online and signed up for a latte art class.
Class was this morning. It was an enlightening hour of all the things I’m not doing at home, and why my latte hearts come out looking like other anatomical parts.
Things I’m not doing at home:
Grinding just the right grind and pulling my shot with just the right amount of pressure directly into a cup for just the right crema.
Steaming the milk just the right way for microfoam, and nothing but microfoam. This requires just the right amount of steam powered swirl, plus just the right amount of air introduced, to just the right temperature. At home I introduce too much air and steam for too long. (I like my milk really hot.) This results in clumpy foam instead of smooth microfoam, which should have the appearance of wet paint.
Steaming the milk in a pitcher that lets me pour precisely. For some reason I own a pitcher with a fully round edge.
Some of these I’m not going to fix. I’m not filling my kitchen with a fancy $700 grinder and $2000 espresso machine.
I can, however, try swapping out my pitcher for $10. I can also play with brew methods for better crema.
Before I forget, here’s how to pour a latte art heart:
– cup angle starts at 45 degrees
– swirl the milk just before pouring in case the foam has separated too much
– initial pour is from a few inches up, straight down and into the coffee
– pour onto foam spots to push them down
– bring the milk closer to the surface to change the entry angle and float the foam
– gradually straighten out the cup angle and push the pour closer to center
– raise the pour again and push to the far edge of the cup to pull the heart from top to bottom
And here’s my attempt from today’s class. It has a uh, major developmental defect.
Aaron came to the class as well. He poured a balloon, followed by a fat phoenix, which he calls a turkey butt.
I’m thinking of starting an Instagram series of whimsical latte art creatures. Kind of like Imperfect Produce, for milky espresso drinks gone sideways.