It’s a scientific fact (ahem) that hot beverages taste better when their surface has been embellished with a fancy fern or handsome heart. Okay, maybe not scientific fact – but it’s the little things in life that enrich our daily experience, and an attractive pattern in latte art can help bring a smile to your face.
Unfortunately, this has traditionally involved forking out for overpriced and mass-produced coffee in your local café as you scurry off to work. Though you may feel these beverages merit their hefty price tag due to the care, attention and skill invested in their creation by thebarista (as well as their delicious taste, of course!), it doesn’t have to be this way.
Caffeinated masterpieces made easy
Many coffee-lovers swear by their French press or espresso machines in order to achieve the same levels of taste and luxury found in boutique coffee shops. While these can be effective, they can also be incredibly time-consuming and require a skill and experience that is beyond your average Joe looking for an above-average cup of Joe.
That’s where the genius of coffee pod machines come in. These handy little gizmos, made popular by companies such as Tassimo, produce consistently great coffee at the simple touch of a button, reducing the laborious and complicated process of brewing and pouring top-notch cappuccinos and lattes to child’s play.
Of course, while it’s easy to create a gorgeous blend every single time from a coffee pod machine, it’s not possible to produce the accompanying latte art from powdered milk capsules. This is where a little bit of jiggery-pokery comes in – instead of adding milk from the machine itself, you’ll need to froth your own milk separately. Then simply add the milk afterwards in a stylised manner and voila! Your masterpiece is complete.
Wait a minute…! How do I do that?
Obviously, it’s not quite as simple as waving a steam wand and expecting your latte art to come out looking like an undiscovered Van Gogh first time – baristas don’t go through rigorous training courses for nothing, you know. However, with a little bit of practice, determination and dedication, you too can create a beautiful rosette in a mug. Just follow these simple steps and you’ll be channelling your inner Picasso in no time.
Perfecting the rosette
- Begin pouring the frothed milk roughly an inch from the side of the cup farthest from you – the cup should be held flat or slightly tilted.
- Once the cup is nearly half full, begin slowly shaking the milk pitcher from side to side in a lazy, metronomic movement. Avoid rushing or jerking the milk, which will impair the pattern. The motion should not originate from the wrist, but rather the whole arm.
- Once you are nearing the other side of the cup, draw the milk slowly back along the centre of the “leaves” you have just created, producing a stem. Elevate the pour slightly in order to keep your stem slim and aesthetically pleasing in relation to the leaves themselves.
Once you’ve mastered the rosette (or fern, or flower, as it is sometimes known), you can move onto more difficult designs such as the heart or even complex patterns like the swan, tulip or even a scorpion.
Cheating gets it done faster
You know what they say – practice makes perfect (or at least better, anyway). However, if you find yourself struggling to grasp the oscillation technique properly, there are a couple of shortcuts to creating fantastic images on your coffee foam.
The first involves obtaining a latte art stencil and simply dusting cocoa powder or cinnamon across the top of your beverage. Alternatively, you could also “draw” your artwork onto the surface of a ready-prepared latte with the aid of a coffee stirrer or other pointed implement. Simple!