Cycle 360’s Latte art guide

Are you thinking about entering our Latte Art Championships and wanting to learn how to make first-prize worthy latte art? Our Head Barista, Dan, has some top tips for you.

You will need:

  • Espresso machine with a steaming wand
  • Metal milk pitcher / jug
  • Thermometer
  • Cold milk
  • Coffee cup

Step 1: Making the perfect foam

First, you need cold milk. The best type of milk for latte art is whole milk. You can use semi-skimmed or dairy free milks too, but it’s not the same.

An espresso machine with a steaming wand is an absolute essential to making latte art. The microfoam that a steaming wand creates gives it that magic texture that allows you to create designs in the espresso. This sadly cannot be achieved with just a milk frother.

To create the perfect microfoam, you need the right amount of bubbles. This can be achieved by putting the steam wand to the bottom of the pitcher and turning on the steam. Slowly raise the wand until it’s close to the tip of the milk.

As the milk rises, lower the pitcher – you always want the wand to be around 1cm from the tip of the milk. Aim for small, light bubbles as opposed to big bubbles. This creates a light foam without compromising the body of the milk.

Then, let the milk reach 37°c then place the steam wand deep into the milk at the side of the pitcher. Let the milk spin (ideally anti-clockwise) and maintain this motion until the milk reaches between 65°c and 68°c.

Shut the steam off and remove your thermometer and wand from the milk. Clean the wand with a wet cloth and turn on the steam for a second to purge the nozzle.

Then… swirl, swirl, swirl!

Swirl the milk vigorously and if you notice any bubbles, bang the pitcher on the counter a few times before swirling again for 20 seconds or so.

The final texture should look like wet paint – smooth and velvety.

Step 2: Make the espresso

Use your espresso machine to make two shots of espresso and pour these into your coffee cup.

Step 3: Pouring the milk

When pouring the steamed milk, you need to be mindful of the height, position and flow.

Dan’s advice is to start the pour quite high until the cup is nearly half full. Then, lower the pout to make the foam appear and make sure to pour at a steady speed.

Hold your cup at a 45 degree angle and pour steadily. Pouring too fast will break the milk apart and pouring too slow will cause foam to be left behind.

When your cup is nearly half full, start pouring to the back of the cup and move the jug gently from side to side.

Step 4: Latte art – leaf or rosetta

Pour your milk as you move the jug from side to side until the foam appears on the top. Continue with this until a pattern appears. Then, whilst moving sideways, slowly move the jug backwards.

When reaching the end of the cup, move the jug in a quick straight line all the way through the pattern. Quick side movements will create a rosetta with many leaves, whilst slow movements create fewer, thicker leaves.

Step 5: Practise 

The final step is to simply keep practising! Practice makes perfect after all…

Become the Island’s first Latte Art Champion!

Once you’ve perfected the art of latte art, be sure to enter Cycle 360’s Latte Art Championships via Instagram or Facebook to be in with the chance of becoming the Island’s first Latte Art Champion!

To enter the first round, simply take a picture of your best latte art, post it to your Instagram story or post. Include the hashtag #360latteartchampion and tag us @Cycle360IsleofMan. Send us a direct message of the image too, including your full name. This allows us to view it even if you have a private account.

The winner will not only receive the coveted title, but will also win a year’s supply of coffee!*

So, get practising, get posting AND get tagging to be in with a chance of becoming Cycle 360’s Latte Art Champion!

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