|4 Clover Art Hot Chocolate|
Latte art is a method of preparing coffee created by pouring steamed milk into a shot of espresso and resulting in a pattern or design on the surface of the resulting latte. It can also be created or embellished by simply "drawing" in the top layer of foam. Latte art is particularly difficult to create consistently, due to the demanding conditions required of both the espresso shot and milk.This, in turn, is limited by the experience of the barista and quality of the espresso machine. The pour itself, then, becomes the last challenge for the latte artist.
There are two main types of latte art: free pouring (pattern created during the pour) and etching (using a tool to create a pattern after the pour). Free pouring is far more common in American cafes, and requires little additional time in preparing a drink.
|Tulip Art Cappucino|
For free pouring, the cup is either kept level or tilted in one direction. As the milk is poured straight into the cup, the foam begins to surface on one side (due to the tilt). The barista then moves the pitcher from side to side as they level the cup, or simply wiggle the spout back and forth, and finishes by making a quick strike through the previously poured pattern. This "strike" creates the stem portion of the flower design, and bends the poured zig-zag into a flower shape.
A more direct pour and less wiggling yields a heart shape, and minor variation (reduced lobes, larger stem) yields an apple shape.
More complex patterns are possible, some requiring multiple pours.
|Sprial Art Mochachino|
Etched patterns range from simple geometric shapes to complicated drawings, such as crosshatched patterns, animals, and flowers, and are generally performed with a coffee stirrer of some sort. Etched latte art typically has a shorter lifespan than free poured latte art as the foam dissolves into the latte more quickly.
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