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Espresso: Latte Art and Etching
Taking the first steps, feedback?
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Discussions > Espresso > Latte Art > Taking the first...  
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glcoffee
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Feb 2012
Posts: 67
Location: Los Angeles, CA & Taiwan
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Izzo Alex II
Grinder: Vario
Drip: Hario V60
Posted Wed Mar 14, 2012, 2:40pm
Subject: Taking the first steps, feedback?
 

I'm using an Izzo Alex II and on the steaming arm, I have reverted back to its two hole tip (more on this later).    

I am using a ss 20oz frothing cup with cold organic whole milk.  Sadly, the photo attached is the best latte art I've done do date (was going for a leaf, but didn't work out).

When frothing, I have the pitched filled halfway, valve half open and  am doing everything by sound and touch.   I normally stretch until warm-hot and stop when it gets too hot to touch.  Any advice on how I can improve?

For beans, I am using 4 day old dark roast Sumatra, grounded fresh from my Vario.

March 2012:
http://www.coffeegeek.com/images/56957/cc1.jpg

--------------------------

Feb. 2013, 11 months later:
http://i.imgur.com/EvI73l9.jpg

I am still trying to perfect a Rosetta.

glcoffee: cc1.jpg
(Click for larger image)

 
“Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.”
C.S. Lewis, The World's Last Night
------------------------------------------- ------------------------------------------
I am Taiwanese.
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StereoHeathen
Senior Member


Joined: 11 Sep 2011
Posts: 56
Location: Sacramento, CA
Expertise: Pro Barista

Grinder: "Starbucks" Baratza Maestro
Drip: Bee House, Clever
Posted Wed Mar 14, 2012, 7:45pm
Subject: Re: Taking the first steps, feedback?
 

For great microfoam, generally you'll stop stretching when the milk is about body temperature (when it feels neither hot nor cold) and continue "rolling" the milk with the tip submerged until it is too hot to comfortably hold.

If you continue stretching the milk up into the 100s of degrees you'll tend to get larger bubbles, or milk that is not smooth but visually grainy.

It looks like you've got a fair start at pouring a heart, though, it's not bad at all. It definitely looks more cappuccino than latte style, and the amount of foam in your milk will determine to some extent what the best way to pour art is (cappuccino generally being faster, so the foam doesn't blob out or white out the entire surface of your drink).

The best way I learned how to pour latte art was really just watching videos on youtube. Not instructional videos, but just videos of people pouring art. That way you get a sense of technique, pitcher position, where to start and where to end your design, etc. Just sort of, how the process really looks.

That said, practice is the only way to get any good at it. But once you figure it out, it's a bit of an "aha!" moment. Because once you can do it, you can do it, and the only thing left is to get better.
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glcoffee
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Feb 2012
Posts: 67
Location: Los Angeles, CA & Taiwan
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Izzo Alex II
Grinder: Vario
Drip: Hario V60
Posted Thu Mar 15, 2012, 9:45am
Subject: Re: Taking the first steps, feedback?
 

StereoHeathen Said:

For great microfoam, generally you'll stop stretching when the milk is about body temperature (when it feels neither hot nor cold) and continue "rolling" the milk with the tip submerged until it is too hot to comfortably hold.

If you continue stretching the milk up into the 100s of degrees you'll tend to get larger bubbles, or milk that is not smooth but visually grainy.

It looks like you've got a fair start at pouring a heart, though, it's not bad at all. It definitely looks more cappuccino than latte style, and the amount of foam in your milk will determine to some extent what the best way to pour art is (cappuccino generally being faster, so the foam doesn't blob out or white out the entire surface of your drink).

The best way I learned how to pour latte art was really just watching videos on youtube. Not instructional videos, but just videos of people pouring art. That way you get a sense of technique, pitcher position, where to start and where to end your design, etc. Just sort of, how the process really looks.

That said, practice is the only way to get any good at it. But once you figure it out, it's a bit of an "aha!" moment. Because once you can do it, you can do it, and the only thing left is to get better.

Posted March 14, 2012 link

Thanks for the great tips and encouraging words. I will try with a digital thermo tonight then report back.

 
“Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.”
C.S. Lewis, The World's Last Night
------------------------------------------- ------------------------------------------
I am Taiwanese.
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 2,967
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Fri Mar 16, 2012, 9:02am
Subject: Re: Taking the first steps, feedback?
 

StereoHeathen Said:

For great microfoam, generally you'll stop stretching when the milk is about body temperature (when it feels neither hot nor cold) and continue "rolling" the milk with the tip submerged until it is too hot to comfortably hold.

Posted March 14, 2012 link

This method is perfect and requires no thermometer - digital or otherwise.  In fact, since I adopted this technique, I've re-assigned one of my thermometers to measuring the temperature in my wine cabinet and given the other one away.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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Gig103
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Joined: 12 Feb 2012
Posts: 225
Location: Arizona
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: French press!
Posted Sun Mar 18, 2012, 10:22pm
Subject: Re: Taking the first steps, feedback?
 

StereoHeathen Said:

For great microfoam, generally you'll stop stretching when the milk is about body temperature (when it feels neither hot nor cold) and continue "rolling" the milk with the tip submerged until it is too hot to comfortably hold.

Posted March 14, 2012 link

I'm going to try this tomorrow night, because watching Youtube, the one thing I couldn't tell was when to stop stretching.

I will ask questions that I think I know the answer to, because I don't want to waste my time if I'm way off.
1) To stretch the milk I put the tip just below the surface and get that occassional slurp-slurp sound which is adding air to the milk
2) When you say "submerge the tip" you mean all the way down so even as it rolls there is no air reaching the tip?
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thedotben
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thedotben
Joined: 8 Mar 2012
Posts: 48
Location: Holland
Expertise: Pro Barista

Posted Mon Mar 19, 2012, 11:13am
Subject: Re: Taking the first steps, feedback?
 

Gig103 Said:

I'm going to try this tomorrow night, because watching Youtube, the one thing I couldn't tell was when to stop stretching.

I will ask questions that I think I know the answer to, because I don't want to waste my time if I'm way off.
1) To stretch the milk I put the tip just below the surface and get that occassional slurp-slurp sound which is adding air to the milk
2) When you say "submerge the tip" you mean all the way down so even as it rolls there is no air reaching the tip?

Posted March 18, 2012 link

  1. Well, it shouldn't be so much of a "slurp-slurp" sound, as at "tsst-tsst." But yes, start with the tip just below the surface, and lower your pitcher just slightly enough so that you get that short, staccato sound that indicates that you are adding air to the milk. Do this until about 80-100 degrees. Then you will move on to step two.

  2. When you submerge that tip after you have finished introducing air, you just barely raise your pitcher so that the tip is just BARELY covered by milk, so that you stop adding air. The entire steam wand is hot, and if you submerge it completely, you will scald the milk, even if your final temperature is below 170 degrees.
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Gig103
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Feb 2012
Posts: 225
Location: Arizona
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: French press!
Posted Mon Mar 19, 2012, 1:38pm
Subject: Re: Taking the first steps, feedback?
 

thedotben Said:

Well, it shouldn't be so much of a "slurp-slurp" sound, as at "tsst-tsst." But yes, start with the tip just below the surface, and lower your pitcher just slightly enough so that you get that short, staccato sound that indicates that you are adding air to the milk. Do this until about 80-100 degrees. Then you will move on to step two.

When you submerge that tip after you have finished introducing air, you just barely raise your pitcher so that the tip is just BARELY covered by milk, so that you stop adding air. The entire steam wand is hot, and if you submerge it completely, you will scald the milk, even if your final temperature is below 170 degrees.

Posted March 19, 2012 link

Thanks!
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MisterJohnnyT
Senior Member


Joined: 13 Jan 2012
Posts: 62
Location: S.E. Florida
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Compak K3 Touch
Posted Fri Mar 23, 2012, 12:37pm
Subject: Re: Taking the first steps, feedback?
 

@OP:  I start out with a room-temp pitcher and only fill it no more than 1/3rd.  This leaves space for you to double the volume of the milk and still be able to swirl it around without spillage.  When you are done steaming, gently tap the edge of the pitcher on your counter to help break up the larger air bubbles, and then swirl it around for a bit similar to how you would with red wine.  I usually get the basket packed/tamped and then steam the milk.  While the shot is pulling, I am swirling the steamed milk.  As soon as the shot is done, the milk is right there ready for art.

SeattleCoffeeGear has a good video or two on youtube or their homepage.



Keep in mind, I'm not an expert, only have about 4 months experience.
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glcoffee
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Feb 2012
Posts: 67
Location: Los Angeles, CA & Taiwan
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Izzo Alex II
Grinder: Vario
Drip: Hario V60
Posted Thu Sep 20, 2012, 1:58pm
Subject: Re: Taking the first steps, feedback?
 

...and 6 months later

glcoffee: photo01.jpg
(Click for larger image)

 
“Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.”
C.S. Lewis, The World's Last Night
------------------------------------------- ------------------------------------------
I am Taiwanese.
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glcoffee
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Feb 2012
Posts: 67
Location: Los Angeles, CA & Taiwan
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Izzo Alex II
Grinder: Vario
Drip: Hario V60
Posted Thu Sep 20, 2012, 1:59pm
Subject: Re: Taking the first steps, feedback?
 

one more...

glcoffee: photo02.jpg
(Click for larger image)

 
“Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.”
C.S. Lewis, The World's Last Night
------------------------------------------- ------------------------------------------
I am Taiwanese.
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 View Profile Link to this post
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