There's something about a perfectly formed Flat White or Latte - the texture and design creating that beautiful work of art.
Here are some tips from coffee consultants DunneFrankowski so you can see what the judges of Coffee Masters are looking for in the Latte Art challenge!
Always use fresh milk. Fresh milk will taste sweeter and make a creamier texture when steamed for coffee. The higher the fat content the creamier the milk becomes. Milk develops bacteria as it ages making it harder to steam and texture correctly.
Always use cold milk - when steaming milk always use milk straight out of the fridge. The colder the milk is, the longer it takes to heat up, which gives you a longer time to texture it and turn it into a silky smooth liquid. The longer you texture the smoother the milk becomes.
Stretch the milk within the first five seconds - in the coffee world we refer to stretching milk when we insert air bubbles into it. Inserting air bubbles into the milk is the first step to creating micro foam and depending on how much air you insert you can create thin or thick micro foam. The large bubbles we insert then get diluted during texturing.
Too much banging doesn’t do a lot of good - all the work which you need to do to the milk should be one on the steam wand, having the milk textured and heated properly ready to be poured. If all is done correctly then you don’t need to bang the jug. By banging the jug you are helping gravity come into effect and separate the milk and foam, which you then have to re-texture to pour. The only time you should bang the jug is when you have bubbles on the surface of the milk.
If you don’t see a pattern you’re too far away - if nothing is coming out it usually means that the tip of the jug is too far from the surface of the milk. You might have to change the angle of the cup or the jug to get the tip of the spout closer to the milk.
Follow the steps - if you don’t have a good espresso, you won’t have a good coffee at the end. Imagine you start with garlic in a sauce - if you burn it the sauce just doesn’t taste right. The same goes for milk - you need to texture and heat the milk correctly to be able to pour a pattern correctly and get the right texture for the correct drink.
Watch the professionals in action during the Latte Art challenge in Coffee Masters NYC.