How to craft the perfect design into your coffee

When you’re taking the time to make the perfect coffee, you want it to look as good as it tastes.

Creating latte art like a barista takes practice and precision, but if you’re willing to put in a little time and effort, the results can be amazing. And it’s something you can achieve in just seven simple steps.

Step 1: Start with a great espresso

The crema on an espresso is an important part of the design process as it stops the milk from sinking into the coffee. So, make sure you’re using a good quality, fine ground coffee and the right amount of pressure to create a lovely rich crema on the top of your brew.

Step 2: Steam your milk carefully

You need a thick, velvety consistency to your milk, not too foamy, not too thin, so the milk doesn’t sink straight into the coffee or drop in in dollops. Whole milk works best and you need to start off with cold milk in a cold pitcher – chilled beforehand if you can.

Place the steam wand from your espresso machine into the cold milk, angled diagonally towards the back of the pitcher. Turn on the steam and slowly lift the wand through the jug, so the milk swirls like a whirlpool. If you’re new to this, you might want to use a thermometer the first few times, heating the milk to around 140F (60C). You’re looking for microbubbles, not large foamy ones, and the milk should look rich and velvety, not foamy and dry. When it’s the right temperature and consistency, turn off the steam, tap the bottom of the jug on the counter and give it a swirl to prepare your steamed milk for pouring.

Step 3: Angle your cup

Creating designs on coffee is all about controlling the speed of the pour and the angle of your cup is key. So when you’ve poured your coffee into a wide mouthed cup, hold the cup in your non-dominant hand and angle it away from you, to give you more control when pouring from your jug.

Step 4: Start in the centre, slowly

Start pouring your milk into the centre of your cup, from around an inch away from the surface of your coffee. Keep the flow slow and steady.

Step 5: Move in closer

Now, move the milk jug closer to the coffee and speed up the flow of steamed milk into your cup.

Step 6: Get moving!

Now it’s time to start creating your pattern, which is done by moving your milk pitcher slowly and fluidly, side to side in a zig zag pattern, making sure to start from the edge of the cup closest to you.

Step 7: Finish your design

When you reach the far side of the cup, gently tilt the cup so it’s level. Slow down the pour and lift the pitcher so it’s about half an inch from the top of your drink and drizzle a small stream of milk down the centre of your zig zag to create the classic rosetta pattern.

There are lots more designs to try once you’ve perfected your technique, from hearts to flowers and even swans. Once you get the basics, you can turn every cup of coffee into a work of art.

Perfected the perfect pour? Share your creations with us on social media.

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