Damn Fine Tutorial – Latte Art Edition: The Heart

To celebrate Valentines Day I found it appropriate to start out with the heart design...

Which is coincidently one of the most basic, but foundational designs in latte art.  Even as a basic design, there is a lot going on in a short period of time.  I felt a video would be a better representation than just a step-by-step in text form.  For those who aren't visual learners, or have questions about any of the lingo used in the video, I've written out the steps below.

  1. Pull your shot of espresso and steam your milk; simultaneously if possible (dual boiler for the win).

  2. Tap out any bubbles in your espresso and give it a quick swirl to spread out the crema.

  3. Tap your milk if there are any surface bubbles, and swirl to create an even texture throughout your pitcher.

  4. Pick up your cup and pitcher, tilt your cup so the espresso is sitting at an angle in your cup (see video).

  5. Now we'll pour the base; at about 3-5 inches away from the surface pour into the center and fill the cup halfway.  If this was done correctly, your steamed milk will rest beneath the crema.

  6. From here you can immediately drop in so your pitcher spout is very close to the surface, or you can pause for a moment to collect your thoughts.

  7. To begin the heart get your pitcher as close as possible to the center surface of your espresso and pour at a medium pace.

  8. Once you see the white begin to pop out on top of the crema, you can speed up your pour slightly to develop the shape.

  9. Continue pouring until your cup is nearly full, and the steamed milk has rounded out in front of your pitcher.

  10. Now slow down your pour while simultaneously lifting your pitcher up further from the surface (3-5 inches).

  11. Lastly you'll cut through the center of your design with that thin stream of milk.

When this is done correctly the heart will take shape with a sharp point at the end.  If you don't go high enough, you'll get a heavier stream of milk that will fold in your design, or cause a weird tail on the end of your heart.

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