Tips by Claudia Scilipoti
Latte art is what interested Claudia the most when she became a barista 7 months ago. She has since been working on our bar and getting better every day. She consistently pours beautiful, tasty cups of coffee for the good people of Bluebird HQ.
I asked her to give us her top 5 tips for a beginner “latte artist”, this is what she said
The way you hold your pitcher is key to starting off strong.
You need to hold the pitcher in a way that gives you the most mobility and stability,
in order to have complete control of where your milk goes.
Claudia recommends using your top thumb and index finger to hold the top of the jug
(as shown in the photo above)
Introducing the correct amount of air to your milk is key to getting the best latte art milk.
Claudia recommends holding the jug at a slight angle and introducing the steam wand very close to the top of the milk to introduce the initial air.
After about 2 seconds of holding the wand at the surface of the milk,
sink the wand and allow it to create a spinning vortex in the milk.
This will incorporate the air bubbles you have just created into the rest of the milk,
giving you an even milk, rather than having all the foam at the top and watery milk at the bottom.
Use your hand to feel the temperature of the milk on the side of the pitcher.
A simple metric is when it is too hot to touch, the milk is done.
Look out for the consistency of wet paint. That’s the perfect milk.
When you start pouring, hold your cup at an angle to the pitcher.
Start your initial pour at the top of the cup, furthest from where you are pouring from.
This will ensure the initial milk goes under the espresso, forming the base of the drink and maintaining the coffee-colour on the top for you to then pour onto.
When you are ready to start creating your “image”,
Claudia’s biggest tip is to just slow down.
“When I first started, I just went really fast. Going slow give you more control of where the milk goes.”
She notes that going slow also ensures that your milk stays on top of the espresso,
rather than piercing the surface and just going under the surface of the coffee.
From here, “just go for it”
The basis of latte art is art.
This is what Claudia loves about it. Keeping it fun and creative is what will keep you coming back to practice, which is ultimately what you need to get better at latte art. Practice.
Claudia is always watching other baristas and looking out for inspiration, whether that be online or in a cafe.
If you decide to start giving latte art a go, tag us @bluebirdcoffeeroastery so we can see what you’re up to!
Claudia’s latte art progress so far.