When steaming milk for espresso, milk frothing techniques are performed
to create a smooth and sweet milk that can be poured into
heart and flower patterns. Although the ability to
pour art in a latte or cappuccino does not indicate quality
in itself, it is indicative of the passion of the barista.
The ability to pour patterns into drinks will let your customers
and friends know that you are serious about espresso.
Whole milk, straight walled steam pitcher (or milk frothing pitcher), an espresso machine
with a powerful steam wand, thermometer, and a 14 oz latte
cup. Prepare the steamed milk first, then the espresso.
Latte Art Instructions:
1) Begin with very cold milk.
It is important to keep the milk temperature right above
freezing. Keep the steam pitchers in the refrigerator
also. This will allow you to steam the milk for a longer period
of time to achieve the smooth and velvety texture that is
required for latte art.
2) Fill the milk pitcher with
the right amount of milk for one cup. You will probably
have some milk left over after steaming. Start with
fresh milk for every cup.
Place the steam wand at the bottom of the pitcher.
Turn the steam on, and slowly raise the wand so that it
is near the top of the milk. As the milk rises, lower
the pitcher so that the steam wand remains approximately
1 cm from the top of the milk. Stretching should be
minimal, no big bubbles should be formed. The key
is to get smooth velvety milk, not the thick foam that
floats above the espresso. When poured, the milk should
flow into and mix with the espresso.
4) Milk temperature is critical. When the milk has reached 80 ºF, push the steam
wand deep into the milk on the side of the pitcher, and
position the pitcher to spin the milk counterclockwise.
Continue the spinning motion until the milk reaches 150-160 ºF. Steaming milk
over this temperature limits the sweetness of the milk.
After stopping the steam, carefully remove from milk and
clean with wet cloth. Remove thermometer from milk.
Swirl milk vigorously. If any bubbles are visible
pound the pitcher on the counter several times. Swirl
after pounding. I recommend swirling for 20-30 seconds.
This can be done effectively while the espresso is pouring.
6) Begin pouring milk into
a flower pattern, pour into the bottom portion of the cup,
approximately an inch from the bottom of the cup.
Pour gently into one spot and do not shake the pitcher.
As the cup is about half filled, begin to shake the pitcher
back and forth while slowly moving backward. The flower
pattern will move forward and fill the cup. I have
found that a shaking motion via movement of the wrist is
better than physically moving the hand back and forth.
7) When the milk reaches the
top of the cup, sweep through the pattern you created
by quickly pouring milk up the center of the pattern.
Pouring less milk here is better because it will not sink
the flower pattern.
Note: To pour a heart pattern,
shake as you were doing above, but do not move backwards
as much. Concentrate on forming a ringed circle and
then slowly sweep through the steamed milk and espresso to form a multi-layered heart.
Espresso Machine Steam Wand
Espresso Machine Sight Glass
from David Schomer:
Texturing and Presentation