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Technique for High Contrast, Glossy Art

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  • Technique for High Contrast, Glossy Art

    Hi guys,

    Just thought that I should share this in case it helps everyone else.

    I find that one of the problems with making coffee at home is that it requires a lot more effort to stop my variables from drifting just because Im not making a gagillion coffees in a row. Last week I got on the BFC machine again and pulled out a bunch of awesome rosettas, which was wierd because Im not much of a latte artist. Unfortunately I didnt have a camera, but Ill repost the last photo for reference:






  • #2
    Re: Technique for High Contrast, Glossy Art

    Up till now, Id just been stretching relatively slowly until the milk was warm, then rolling until it was up to temperature. Sometimes Id even make too much foam and tip some off, which might lead to something like this:





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    • #3
      Re: Technique for High Contrast, Glossy Art

      So my milk at home wouldnt be consistently glossy and there wouldnt necessarily be as much of a deliniation between milk and crema.

      When I was using the BFC machine, I noticed that I kept on getting relatively large bubbles at the beginning, but the long rolling period would get rid of them entirely. So I decided to try stretching relatively quickly at home and finishing with the milk still quite cool to touch. Then I just kept the milk rolling until it came to temperature. Doing this produced milk that required no banging to remove bubbles and was of the correct texture. I remember that Scott C was running a latte art workshop and mentioned getting the correct milk texture without ever needing to pop bubbles. If this technique was what he was referring to, a little experimentation might save us all a few hundred bucks ;P

      Anyhoo, this pour was far from great, but it shows the milk texture and the contrast between milk and crema:



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      • #4
        Re: Technique for High Contrast, Glossy Art

        Interesting Luca. I find that I can get the silky milk better at home on the Silvia than at work on the Brasilia. I find it interesting that you dont think you do so well at home, I assume with the Silvia?

        And now that you mention it, I think that at home my technique is slower and I also believe the single steam hole helps me, whereas at work where I am trying to do things quickly, the milk is brought to temp faster and doesnt have that same opportunity to develop the same texture.

        I am probably reaching here a bit and correct me either way, please! But if what is happening to the milk is a caramelisation of the milk fats then as I understand it, caramelising something (in the cooking world) is a slow process over a low heat. Stands to reason that this is surely the path to the milk we so desire for the ultimate milk coffee drink.

        Thanks for that!

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        • #5
          Re: Technique for High Contrast, Glossy Art

          Originally posted by scoota gal link=1160788333/0#3 date=1160831115
          Interesting Luca. I find that I can get the silky milk better at home on the Silvia than at work on the Brasilia. I find it interesting that you dont think you do so well at home, I assume with the Silvia?
          Yep, Ive got a Silvia at home. Its not a case of not being able to do well at home; its that Pete chose a really awesome steam wand/tip combo for his custom machines, so pouring rosettas using that machine is like shooting fish in a barrel.

          Originally posted by scoota gal link=1160788333/0#3 date=1160831115
          I am probably reaching here a bit and correct me either way, please! But if what is happening to the milk is a caramelisation of the milk fats then as I understand it, caramelising something (in the cooking world) is a slow process over a low heat. Stands to reason that this is surely the path to the milk we so desire for the ultimate milk coffee drink.
          Hmmm ... I dont really see how that works out. Caramelisation occurs at very high temperatures and it occurs very quickly when, for example, one blowtorches the sugar on top of a creme brulee or a lemon tart. What Im on about probably has more of a parallel with making a meringue or a mayonnaise in that beating (or swirling) results in a stable end product.

          Talking about what were doing with the sugars brings up a very good point, though. What I posted above has NOTHING to do with flavour, which is why I havent really been concentrating on latte art of late. To an extent, I think that latte art and flavour are at odds. If you want to pour a million-leaved rosetta, you generally need really thin milk, which almost defeats the purpose of steaming in the first place.

          When we first got kaanage to knock up a bottomless portafilter for us at Maltitude, Andrew very quickly came up with the idea of having both of us work together on making a latte. Id make the shot and hed steam the milk, timing it so that we finished at the exact same time. Hed then just tip the milk into the espresso and whoever would be drinking it would start then and there, seconds after pouring, while both the milk and the espresso were separating. A totally different experience from latte arted drinks and, unfortunately, one that I cant do with a single-boiler machine!

          Cheers,

          Luca

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          • #6
            Re: Technique for High Contrast, Glossy Art

            Originally posted by luca link=1160788333/0#4 date=1160912683
            Hmmm ... I dont really see how that works out. Caramelisation occurs at very high temperatures and it occurs very quickly when, for example, one blowtorches the sugar on top of a creme brulee or a lemon tart.
            Ahh, I see where youre coming from, Luca and where Im coming from now. Im thinking of how I "caramelise" onions over a low heat over a long time. The onions end up tasting sweet of course! But when you make toffee, its a slow process to get the sugars to the boil otherwise you end up with burnt toffee. With using a blow torch to "caramelise" the sugar on top of a desert, youre really "scorching" the sugars to make them change their properties quickly, otherwise, youd melt the entire desert!

            Its all part of the cooking process really isnt it. Were heating something to change its properties for a different taste.

            And your last comment Luca brings me to another point that is worth discussing. In my job, I feel that getting the coffee to the customer is more important than if I had taken the time to get the milk perfectly textured to pour latte art. Even etching seems to take time (not that I do it) and I truly wonder anyway if the average Joe Blow even notices. In point of fact, most of my coffees are cappuccinos with chocolate sprinkled over any art you might pour out anyway! On the odd occassion only have I heard a murmur of approval and pleasure at the sight of my beautifully presented coffees! Personally Id prefer to have the coffee drunk when it should be, rather than fuss about whether the art is right or not. Dont get me wrong, I always ensure that the cup/mug/glass is immaculate when it goes out but I try to do it with speed, not haste. Or is it haste and not speed? :-/ Anyway, I hope you get what I mean when I say that.

            I just wish that more of my customers would drink their coffee as soon as I hand it to them rather than stirring in copious amounts of sugars and talking about life, the universe and everything!! :

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            • #7
              Re: Technique for High Contrast, Glossy Art

              Originally posted by luca link=1160788333/0#4 date=1160912683
              When we first got kaanage to knock up a bottomless portafilter for us at Maltitude, Andrew very quickly came up with the idea of having both of us work together on making a latte.  Id make the shot and hed steam the milk, timing it so that we finished at the exact same time.  Hed then just tip the milk into the espresso and whoever would be drinking it would start then and there, seconds after pouring, while both the milk and the espresso were separating.  A totally different experience from latte arted drinks and, unfortunately, one that I cant do with a single-boiler machine!
              Had one of these at T.M.R ... loved it!

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              • #8
                Re: Technique for High Contrast, Glossy Art

                Interesting observation about the slow development of the milk being better than fast. One paradox which has always bothered me is that Ive often found it easier to create latte-artable milk with my in-laws Kenwood thermoblock machine than with my Napoletana! They only have a 250ml jug or something, so when you open it flat out youre getting (relatively) low steam volume in a relatively small container, but it tends to whirlpool really well. Whenever I get home I open up the wand on my Napoletana flat out in my 600ml jug and milk goes everywhere! When I tried a slow start to the stretch, and only up to about 20 degrees, I found I was better able to replicate the Kenwood results than when I started flat out.

                Who knows whats going on at chemical level, and it would vary with pitcher size too, but a slower start seems to work for me.

                Greg

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                • #9
                  Re: Technique for High Contrast, Glossy Art

                  I remember reading a conversation somewhere (either coffeegeek or home-barista) that milk that gets up to temp quickly has a sweeter taste than milk that gets up to temp slowly.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Technique for High Contrast, Glossy Art

                    Hmm,


                    Was that just a conversation between people mattyj or was it a discussion on facts? Id be interested to see if you can dig it up for us too!

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                    • #11
                      Re: Technique for High Contrast, Glossy Art

                      online discussion on observations .... Im too lazy to dig it up, and I think it was just a passing observation. Not sure.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Technique for High Contrast, Glossy Art

                        Hi All,

                        There is probably something to this..... I discovered mostly by accident, that milk stretched with the Mokita was most definitely NOT as sweet as milk heated up in a warming pan on the (gas) stove, which was significantly faster. I thought I was imagining things but my son verified it for me also.

                        Havent got the Bezzera ready to run yet so cant do a comparison using it just yet but will be an interesting experiment 8-),

                        Mal.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Technique for High Contrast, Glossy Art

                          Yep, gotta agree with the speed thing.

                          Two more tips:

                          (a) The more crema on the espresso, the better, which makes things difficult if you have a silvia

                          (b) Letting the milk sit for 10 or 15 seconds seems to help

                          Again, the art itself isnt very good, but this is a thread about contrast, not about skill!

                          Cheers,

                          Luca

                          PS. Yes, that is a shot from a new camera. As the lens on my old one was a bit large, I sold it and got a cheaper, smaller Panasonic Lumix FX-07. Go evilbay!

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                          • #14
                            Re: Technique for High Contrast, Glossy Art

                            I agree on the crema needing to be of good quality too. I think I read Scott Callaghan (sp?) saying that the "canvas" youre pouring into has to be good, other wise youre not going to get the best results. His signature art of the three hearts was actually poured into crema with a dusting of chocolate powder. Got some very good contrast in that!

                            Stop being so modest, Luca! :P Theres nothing wrong with that art youve poured!

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                            • #15
                              Re: Technique for High Contrast, Glossy Art

                              re: letting milk sit for 10-15 seconds;

                              Ive actually found the opposite works for me; if I pour straight away, I tend to get better art, more contrast, less chance of a blob etc.

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