Coffee Art: Making a Simple Image of a Leaf
A relatively new art medium has appeared around the world in recent times. This art form has risen in popularity along with the rise of the coffee shop. People sometimes call this rising art form “coffee art,” and many in the industry refer to is as latte art as well. It is an art form explored by professional baristas, enthusiastic espresso amateurs, and artists in search of new forms of expression.
To set the “canvas,” the barista prepares a cup of espresso and pours the steamed milk and foam into the beverage in a special pattern. The result is an image, created with the blending of milk, foam and espresso, which rests on top of the beverage. In this art form, coffee and painting are perfectly combined with one other. Once the barista’s skills become more mature, the artist can literally create any design that he or she can imagine. Just like conquering any art form, mastering this method is a process that takes time, patience, and practice.
It is recommended that most people begin by learning to create a simple leaf image.
What You Will Need
- A cup of cold, fresh, whole milk (milk with lower fat content does not froth as well)
- A pitcher for steaming (most professionals use a metal version like this)
- A quality espresso machine
- A coffee cup, kept warm until use (size is optional; it’s best to use a flat, broad, bowl-shaped cup as opposed to a tall, thin cup)
Step 1 – Prepare the espresso shot.
Step 2 – Fill a clean pitcher with cold milk. Heat the milk to normal body temperature using the machine’s steam wand.
Step 3 – Going in a clockwise direction, stir the milk with a stick or spoon as heat is applied. When it reaches 155 degrees F, turn off the steam wand.
Step 4 – Gently tap the pitcher on the counter a few times. Allow all the tiny bubbles to float to the surface and form a smooth foam layer.
Step 5 – Quickly pour the espresso into the warm coffee cup.
Step 6 – Gently tap the milk pitcher for a second time
Step 7 – As you tilt the espresso cup slightly, pour the heated the milk into the espresso carefully, fairly high above the cup and in a circular motion. This makes the milk flow to the bottom through the foam. Straighten the tilt of the cup through this step.
Step 8 – When almost nothing but foam is left in the pitcher, bring it closer to the cup as you continue to pour. Start at the side farthest from you. Pour the foam into the cup, and keep moving the pitcher backward slowly and gently in a side-to-side motion, evenly and carefully. Then gently draw a leaf’s image.
Step 9 – When most parts of the leaf design are made, pour the last stream of foam away from you toward the middle of the image to make it appear as though the leaf stem is on the surface of the beverage.
Be patient with the process! It is normal to fail at the beginning. Just remember that failure is the mother of success. Carefully follow the steps outlined above, and dedicate some time to practice. After a while, you will be able to make a lovely little leaf-topped beverage to impress your friends.
Try this at home, take a photo of your art creation, and post it in the comments below.