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  • Latte art advice

    Hey everyone,

    Just wondering if I can get some advice on latte art. The issue I'm having is I just can't seem to be able to create any art, everytime I try it just seems to be some version of a blob.

    Generally my process with the milk is: stretch the milk about 1cm, stop when its too hot to touch, I have a good whirlpool going, I don't have any visible bubbles in the milk. When I finish I have about 1 cm foam in the cup and it looks nice shiny, it is sticky but not too sticky, tastes sweet and feels smooth in the fingers but I can just never make any art. I took a barista course and when I was there during my first try I barely had to try to make a rosetta (I guess a combination of beginners luck and nicely steamed milk?), but whenever I pour anything now it just ends up as a blob. I've looked at various videos and it seems like whenever people pour the milk moves and shifts, but with mine it tends to stay stationary, I'm wondering what you guys think the issue is?

    Oh and when time to mark the surface I am very close to the milk. I always end up with some form of blob though - the milk just doesn't shift and move like others do

  • #2
    Sounds like you are stretching the milk too much resulting in a foam top. Try stretching for a less amount of time.

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    • #3
      I agree you're stretching for too long or too aggressively and the milk is thick and starting to split. Use a thermometer if you can and only stretch until you get to around 30deg. Stop steaming at around 55deg and you should coast up to about 60deg which is perfect temp for latte art. The equipment and milk you use can make a difference too.

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      • #4
        You could try setting the crema from higher up too to get more non- drawing milk in. If your canvas has a good mix of milk and coffee then pouring into it will work better as the viscosity will be similar.

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        • #5
          Echoing others, too hot will make the foam remain floating on top, and 1cm is too much foam I reckon. Stretch less, and stop steaming a little earlier. Also, don't wait to pour, stop steaming, wipe your wand, a swirl or two and start pouring right away. If you're using a single boiler, pull your shot first. I always used to start my latte art too late as well, try just 1/3 filling the cup to give you enough volume to get the foam over the lip of your jug.

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          • #6
            Thanks for the tips guys! Tried stretching less today and feels like the milk is able to shift better, still think I may be over stretching though. I'll work on it more.

            Actually another issue I seem to have is that I run out of room to pour, is this related to overstretching?

            Also does anyone have any tips on how to practice latte art without having make a shot every time?

            Thanks for everyones input

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            • #7
              Room to pour probably depends on a couple of things, cup size etc - but overstretching the milk into foam will also take up more room in the cup.

              As for practicing, from what you describe, I'd practice steaming milk more and forget about the pouring part for a bit. Once you get the milk right, I bet you'll find the pouring a hell of a lot easier. You can practice steaming by using water with a small drop of dishwashing liquid to save on milk. You should be able to get a really milk-like texture from this.

              Once you get this right, you could also get some cheap supermarket beans to practice with a shot of coffee in the cup.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by rhrh View Post
                Thanks for the tips guys! Tried stretching less today and feels like the milk is able to shift better, still think I may be over stretching though. I'll work on it more.

                Actually another issue I seem to have is that I run out of room to pour, is this related to overstretching?

                Also does anyone have any tips on how to practice latte art without having make a shot every time?

                Thanks for everyones input
                Some says used dark soy sauce, I prefer to make a weak hot choco when I'm lazy to pull a shot.

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                • #9
                  Or try this but it's quite difficult https://www.instagram.com/p/BFXoURhCCWT/

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                  • #10
                    I always find it's quicker for me to pull a shot than prepare something suitable enough as a substitute... but that's just me.

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                    • #11
                      I used to have gaggia and it takes time to pull a shot and steaming. Also at first I pulled a shot using cheap beans but at the end it's annoying when i have to clean the grinder after.

                      When I practice my latte art I wanted to pour back-to-back so i try to use other than proper espresso as long as it works.

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                      • #12
                        Progress! my first non-blob

                        You guys were right, I was WAY over stretching. Stretching for significantly less time now. Thanks for everyones advice!

                        Question though, I have made a heart a few times, but I noticed that the lining isn't very defined, is that due to stretching too much again?

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                        • #13
                          Would be great if you posted a picture to help us diagnose and give you tips. The guys above have said all the important things though.

                          I found when I started that I stretched too much for weeks and weeks. As a beginner, we're looking to for obvious signs in the milk but the more you practise, you start to notice subtle changes that become more and more obvious to you the more often you do it. Latte art is 75% texturing correctly and 25% pouring - once you get the texture right, the pour is just about control.

                          These are my favourite tutorials and are by Verve Coffee Roasters (you might have already seen these) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aY_ucwpiLdQ and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7E0zWZjhhw

                          oliviaarlanto - OMG that brilliant. Though I suspect it takes great skill to keep being able to do that.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by rhrh View Post
                            Progress! my first non-blob

                            You guys were right, I was WAY over stretching. Stretching for significantly less time now. Thanks for everyones advice!

                            Question though, I have made a heart a few times, but I noticed that the lining isn't very defined, is that due to stretching too much again?
                            Yeah it sounds like you may still be over-stretching the milk.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Late comer to this thread but just have to say that advice in this thread, after reading many others on this board, is priceless for me! I went from blob-art to something that resembles a rosetta in just a few short froths (seems I was well and truly over stretching)!

                              The Verve Coffee videos linked in here are also great, even just for the wrist movement in the pour!

                              Thanks all!

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