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Is Latte Art being overdone?
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Discussions > Espresso > Latte Art > Is Latte Art...  
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TriHard
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Posted Wed Oct 17, 2012, 4:57am
Subject: Re: Is Latte Art being overdone?
 

These are 2 different things, look and taste.  Good latte art does not necessarily mean a good tasting latte, and a good tasting latte does not imply well done latte art.  What good latte art does, however, is it indicate that the milk is well distributed throughout the drink and a good microfoam was created in the steaming process.  When I go to a cafe and get a drink with no latte art, I find there is high correlation to a barista who doesn't put much effort into producing the entire drink, and it usually shows up in the taste as well as the looks.  That isn't to say a barista can't put in a lot of effort to make a good drink and not produce latte art, but when I get attention to the detail like latte art, I find that there was usually good care put into the entire drink.  

If you go to a cafe and order a cappuccino and get a latte or you order a macchiato and get a very small latte, that is a problem with the cafe as they haven't really trained their folks on how to prepare the proper drink. I don't think it is the case that they are telling their people to make everything a latte so they can show their latte art on every milk based drink to wow the customers.  

I can't speak for any area other than my own, but where I live latte art isn't being overdone, and if anything it is hardly ever done.  Too many people are influenced by starbucks and the like where the quick and dirty latte is preferred to the quality cup which takes a little time.
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xeonsamari
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Posted Wed Oct 17, 2012, 6:44am
Subject: Re: Is Latte Art being overdone?
 

NobbyR Said:

Latte art is only a nice gimmick, an eye catcher that doesn't contribute to the quality of the drink.

Posted October 16, 2012 link

I get your point but proper latte art deserves more credit than a "gimmick". In competition as in what trihard said latte art on a good cap or latte should speak to the level of attention to detail the barista has put into the drink. There are no separate bonus marks, but it will be factored into the detail category. The movement has been under way to get back to the "coffee professional" side of things, but I think the problem now lies in the fact that the rest of the commercialized community is just catching up. We now have Mcdonalds (and even Tim Horton's for us Canadian folks) putting stenciled "LATTE ART" on there powdered/push-button lattes. Bit of a stark contrast to local shops with nice art bad coffee, but its a sign of the times I guess.
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JohnLyn
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Posted Thu Oct 18, 2012, 6:01am
Subject: Re: Is Latte Art being overdone?
 

+ 1 to attention to detail by the barista and definitely +1 to the drink comes first. I have not had the experience whereby the the drink had excellent Latte art but was a poorly constructed drink. usually baristas have poor all around or serious about their craft. Is the art necessary? nope. I just want a good coffee. Is the art fun? absolutely. But i'm also picky about the cafes that I bother going to, they have to better than what I can do at home or there is no point. Starbucks and macdonalds really just don't get my business... and if they do, they get it I hold no expectations.

Now here is what I have noticed at home. A lot of my friends eyes are being opened to good coffee and they enjoy a good cup. Some have upped their own game by purchasing good beans. usually it starts with the discovery that espresso does not need to be bitter bordering on burned. there are others that end up discovering the joys of well textured milk. they in particular are dazzled by the art, and even if they will never "awaken" to great coffee, I take pleasure in their enjoyment of the art al least, and I accept them for where they are at. there is an undeniable fun factor.
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grumpybarista
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Posted Thu Oct 18, 2012, 6:11am
Subject: Re: Is Latte Art being overdone?
 

xeonsamari Said:

I get your point but proper latte art deserves more credit than a "gimmick". In competition as in what trihard said latte art on a good cap or latte should speak to the level of attention to detail the barista has put into the drink. There are no separate bonus marks, but it will be factored into the detail category. The movement has been under way to get back to the "coffee professional" side of things, but I think the problem now lies in the fact that the rest of the commercialized community is just catching up. We now have Mcdonalds (and even Tim Horton's for us Canadian folks) putting stenciled "LATTE ART" on there powdered/push-button lattes. Bit of a stark contrast to local shops with nice art bad coffee, but its a sign of the times I guess.

Posted October 17, 2012 link

This is happening with me, too. I know many of my friends (actual friends that I invite to my house or visit a cafe with, as well as "facebook friends" who just see my posts and pictures) are starting to make the same transition, which frankly seems to mirror my own transition from about 15 years ago. Until you see the light, you have no idea you were blind.

 
Phil

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grumpybarista
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Posted Thu Oct 18, 2012, 6:13am
Subject: Re: Is Latte Art being overdone?
 

JohnLyn Said:

Now here is what I have noticed at home. A lot of my friends eyes are being opened to good coffee and they enjoy a good cup. Some have upped their own game by purchasing good beans. usually it starts with the discovery that espresso does not need to be bitter bordering on burned. there are others that end up discovering the joys of well textured milk. they in particular are dazzled by the art, and even if they will never "awaken" to great coffee, I take pleasure in their enjoyment of the art al least, and I accept them for where they are at. there is an undeniable fun factor.

Posted October 18, 2012 link

Oops, this is what I meant to refer to. LOL

 
Phil

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NobbyR
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Posted Thu Oct 18, 2012, 7:32am
Subject: Re: Is Latte Art being overdone?
 

xeonsamari Said:

I get your point but proper latte art deserves more credit than a "gimmick". In competition as in what trihard said latte art on a good cap or latte should speak to the level of attention to detail the barista has put into the drink ...

Posted October 17, 2012 link

The problem is that you don't need a good espresso in order to do the most beautiful latte art, you don't even need fresh beans.

 
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grumpybarista
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Posted Thu Oct 18, 2012, 7:38am
Subject: Re: Is Latte Art being overdone?
 

NobbyR Said:

The problem is that you don't need a good espresso in order to do the most beautiful latte art, you don't even need fresh beans.

Posted October 18, 2012 link

I kind of disagree. While you can definitely make a decent latte art with older beans, the crema you only get with fresher beans, allows for a crisper look with more contrast. But then again, I'm not a pro...

 
Phil

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NobbyR
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Posted Thu Oct 18, 2012, 8:07am
Subject: Re: Is Latte Art being overdone?
 

grumpybarista Said:

..., the crema you only get with fresher beans, allows for a crisper look with more contrast ...

Posted October 18, 2012 link

Be that as it may, but as far as I know you don't necessarily need a crema for pouring latte art neither.

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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xeonsamari
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xeonsamari
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Posted Thu Oct 18, 2012, 8:41am
Subject: Re: Is Latte Art being overdone?
 

you definitely need crema to get nice art otherwise it looks washed out or you get a big white blob. The definition of the art is what give you points not the fact that its there. A very well built latte has the capacity for better art than those that are not. You will notice a huge difference between the two. The point we are making is that nice art "should" equal a nice drink, but some times it just doesn't.
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NobbyR
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Posted Thu Oct 18, 2012, 9:56pm
Subject: Re: Is Latte Art being overdone?
 

xeonsamari Said:

you definitely need crema to get nice art otherwise it looks washed out or you get a big white blob ...

Posted October 18, 2012 link

I trust that you're right. But do you get latte art that could compete in a barista championship in your average coffee shop, and would the regular customer know the difference?

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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