Latte art is a marriage between espresso and steamed milk. Latte art has become an increasingly popular art form around the world of coffee in recent years. It is a standard practice in most coffee shops nowadays to present art in a cup.
Latte art highlights the barista’s artistic talent. It makes a cup of latte visually appealing and “more” delicious. The most common arts are the heart and the Rosetta, which are the easiest to make without any special tools. The heart and the Rosetta are considered the fundamentals of latte art.
Latte art developed independently in different countries, and we believe it was originally from Italy. Latte art was popularized in Seattle during the 1980’s and 1990’s when David Schomer first brought latte art to the US.
What is needed to create latte art?
To draw a desired pattern, a well-trained barista can free pour straight from the pitcher using the speed of the pour and the movement of the jug to determine how much to pour into the cup.
To create latte art, one must learn how to extract an espresso shot, learn how to properly froth the milk, and find out how to pour into the cup for a combined success.
- A good espresso machine with a commercial style steam wand. I highly recommend Rancilio Silvia espresso machine.
- A quality espresso grinder like a Rancilio Rocky espresso grinder for beginners learning latte art.
- For beginners, I suggest Rattleware 20-ounce Latte art milk frothing pitcher.
- For the experienced, go for Motta Stainless Steel Europa Professional milk pitcher.
These are well-built equipment with high-quality parts and will serve you for a long time. But they are not the only ones. For lower budget tools, you may want to look for:
As for the Delonghi and Cuisinart, they both are decent pieces of equipment but expect a steeper learning curve. I am sure one can definitely make latte art with them with some hard work.
The most crucial part of the whole learning process is practice.
Someone asked me if they needed to buy expensive high-end equipment for this purpose? My answer is no! You are not going anywhere without practicing and improving your skill. No matter what. Don’t get me wrong. Higher end stuff will bring you to a whole new level, but it won’t happen without practice, period!
You’ll also need the inspiration to create your latte art.
Inspiration from nature
We have an organic garden in our backyard where we grow mostly vegetables for our daily needs. The garden attracts different animals and insects which gives me a lot of inspiration for my latte art. We enjoy our backyard a lot and spend a lot of time there throughout the year.
Here are some latte art samples I created inspired by our garden and nature:
“Snail”- There are good snails which benefit our garden and bad snails which damage the crops. It is a love-hate relationship for us. I love observing a snail’s movement – the slow wave-like movements and the slimy tracks they leave behind.
“Fall Bird”- Some fall evenings where we had our dinner at the backyard, birds would come join us and start singing.
“Crop yield” – Inspired by our organic home garden. Harvesting is the most joyful thing for gardeners. It is when we get rewarded for our hard work throughout the planting seasons.
“Halloween pumpkin”- Halloween reminds me of pumpkin, pumpkin pie, carved pumpkins, pumpkin spice lattes, and candy.
“The sun and the moon” – Inspired by the new moon during the daytime. It is such a phenomenal view, seeing both the sun and the moon visible at the same time.
“Swan swimming on the lake” – We went to a lake and saw a beautiful, elegant swan swimming on the lake. So I decided to capture and reproduce this great image in my latte.
“Snowman” – It is the most wonderful time of the year, Christmas! Building a real snowman from fresh snow with the family was a priceless thing to do last Christmas.
Latte art is not just about pouring, but it is an act of art, a life experience. Life is like a plain canvas that needs to be painted. With a brush and a few strokes, a canvas can become beautiful and meaningful. This is what I love to do.
Photos and article by Latte Art Guy