How to Draw on Coffee: The Art of Latte Art

Drinking coffee is a whole culture. This drink requires careful attitude. Drinking good coffee on the go is a crime! It is better to set aside time for this and enjoy every sip of a hot drink. It is no coincidence that bars and restaurants are trying to make serving coffee memorable. And the best way for this is a pattern on top of the drink. Each of us has tried or seen such coffee. With the help of a technique called latte art, an everyday drink is turned into a small work of art.

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What is the correct name for drawings of milk and chocolate on coffee?

The name of the latte art technique is translated from Italian quite straightforwardly – milk art. The fact is that the first drawings in the form of figures and simple elements were created by adding small portions of foamed milk over the drink. This is done by a specially trained person who knows how to do more than just brew coffee. The modern barista already creates drinks based on it, as well as latte art. Now more and more diverse materials are used to create a drawing: cinnamon, ground cocoa, chocolate, and the tools differ.

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Conditions for creating a pattern on coffee foam

Latte art, or how to draw on coffee

First, let’s figure out what kind of coffee a barista can create a picture on. Usually a cappuccino serves as the base. This drink is created by adding milk with thick foam to espresso in a ratio of 1 to 3. The pattern is created using grated chocolate, cinnamon and other delicious materials.

And since the “canvas” is milk, there are certain requirements for it. It is best if it is fatty, with a high content of cream, which will also give the drink a rich taste. But a good foam can be obtained in skimmed milk by whipping, even baked or soy milk will do.

Another important point is the factory way of processing milk. It can be either pasteurized (heating up to 60 degrees for an hour) or ultra-pasteurized (quick heating up to 120 degrees and quick cooling). In the second case, it is possible to significantly increase the shelf life of the product, but at the same time it loses its original structure. So only pasteurized milk is suitable for latte art.

Foam is formed by hot steam – a real barista should not have problems with this. The ideal drink will be viscous and thick and resemble melted ice cream in its consistency. Of course, it will not be so easy to create it at home, but you can do without a coffee maker with a steamer. A French press will do a good job of whipping. It will help create a product on which you can also draw.

Another important parameter is the temperature of the cappuccino. It is believed that the drink cannot be hotter than 60 degrees, otherwise the milk protein will begin to break down and precipitate to the bottom. Also, high temperature changes carbon compounds, which changes the taste of the drink from pleasantly sweet to bitter. So if you want to drink the hottest drink, choose not a cappuccino, but a simple black coffee.

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How to create a drawing on coffee?

Latte art, or how to draw on coffee

In the process of latte art, a special metal cup with a spout is used. This milkman is called a pitcher. But craftsmen can use other tools in their work: a confectionery syringe and nozzles for it, various sticks and toothpicks to correct the pattern.

The first step is to mix milk, espresso and foam. The cup of drink is tilted so that a deep place is formed. This is where the milk is poured with foam. The barista is required to carefully break through the coffee surface, but not let the milk reach the bottom. If added correctly, the components will naturally mix. It is possible that this operation will not work the first time, so training may be needed.

The next step is re-mixing, or “swinging”. The barista moves the pitcher over the cup, slowly pouring milk and waiting for the drink to be ready to apply the pattern. But then you can use one of several drawing methods, it turns out there are a lot of them.

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Techniques for creating latte art drawings

Stencil method

This method is the simplest, with its help anyone can create a beautiful pattern, even without barista experience. A stencil is used – a cardboard or plastic circle with a cut out shape. It is installed on a cup, and then you just need to pour cocoa, powdered sugar, cinnamon or chocolate into the holes – at your discretion. You can create stencils yourself, but they must extend beyond the cup and have a special tail that you can pull on. When creating a drawing, make sure that the paper does not touch the foam.

Buy a stencil to create latte art

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engraving method

Engraving method - latter art

This method involves the use of a pitcher (a special jug for steaming milk. It usually has a volume of 200 to 700 ml and is made of stainless steel) and other devices. The barista slowly pours the milk over the coffee crema, as if making an engraving. At the same time, the spout of the pitcher itself should be as close as possible to the surface of the drink so that the milk does not sink deep. Professional baristas often use special syrups, toppings. They are applied to the foam using confectionery syringes with a thin nozzle. Along with the topping, other elements of the decoration of the drink can also be used: pieces of nuts, waffle crumbs, chocolate flakes.

Buy a pitcher

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Latte art, or how to draw on coffee

If you see how a barista “conjures” coffee with chopsticks or toothpicks, then know that he creates a pattern using the etching technique. It involves the use of sharp objects. Cinnamon or grated chocolate, as well as other ingredients that can help create a pattern, are carefully placed on the foam. And then, with a thin long skewer, dark spots are converted into the desired patterns on white foam.

Buy a “pen” for drawing on coffee

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pitcher latte art

It is not difficult to guess that the main tool of the barista for this technique is the pitcher. With the help of its thin spout, you can display patterns, figures or even inscriptions on the surface of the drink.

Buy a pitcher

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By combining the use of a pitcher and a thin skewer, especially interesting pictures and patterns can be created.

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3d latte art

Light and airy milk foam can be a good material for creating three-dimensional figures. You can even use additional cups to expand the pattern. But such a technique is available only to the most experienced barista and requires special frothing of milk.

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Art cream

Traditional latte art uses essentially two colors, and South Korean barista Lee Kang-bin decided to use multiple colors. The creations of the master immediately made him popular. The creative barista was able to transfer such paintings as “Mona Lisa”, “Starry Night”, “Scream” and others to coffee. The secret of the technology lies in the use of light colored glaze and manual dexterity.

latte art latte art

At the same time, the master applies the drawing with a pitcher and special spoons, helping himself with chopsticks. The barista has a set of special tools to give the plastic material the desired shape.

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How to create a simple pattern on coffee yourself?

Star. Brew a cappuccino and pour it into a small cup. Outline the foam with a pastry bag and melted chocolate. Then you need to make another bezel, a little more than the first. With the help of a toothpick, you can draw lines from the center to the edges, which will act as rays.

Heart. This drawing always looks romantic. Coffee with a heart is a great way to show your feelings to your loved one. Prepare a classic espresso and whisk warm milk until foamy. To make the pattern even more contrasting, sprinkle the black surface of the drink with cinnamon or cocoa. Now pick up a pitcher or similar container and gradually pour milk into the very center of the mug. After the snow-white circle becomes the desired diameter, make a sharp downward movement with the pitcher, which will make the heart hollow and pointed nose.

Hare. Although this drawing seems complicated, even a child can do it. On the surface of black coffee with the help of a pitcher, you need to draw a circle, and a little higher – a heart. Then, with skewers, you need to finish the nose, eyes, mouth, ears and paws of this creature.

chocolate flower. This drawing looks both beautiful and appetizing. The pattern is created using the same milk foam. But the basis is macchiato, which is prepared by adding coffee to frothed milk, and not vice versa, as is traditional. This drink is served in tall transparent glasses. The rest of the foam and pre-melted chocolate are laid out in the center of the coffee. And then you need to arm yourself with wooden skewers or toothpicks and draw fancy patterns, trying to give them the shape of a flower.

Several video tutorials:

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