How to Master Coffee Art

December 24, 2020

If you’re an aspiring barista or just a coffee fan, getting creative with latte art is a must, and learning how to create it is the first obvious step.

People love coffee art because it shows that you cared enough to give that extra attention. It’s a great way to show off your creative skills by adding a special touch to the everyday task of making coffee. Latte art is also a fantastic conversation starter, and for cafés and restaurants, it helps differentiate their brand, rise above the noise, and leave a lasting positive impression. Perhaps that’s why people are willing to pay around 13% more for designed coffee.

But just because it’s pretty doesn’t mean it’s easy to make. Coffee art requires skill, knowledge, and some trial and error. Spoiler alert: at the end of this article, you’ll find a foolproof way of making the most incredible coffee painting designs without any prior experience or expertise.

To help you learn everything you need to know about coffee art, here are four elements for the perfect creative design.

The must-have ingredients

You need to make a latte if you want to get creative with latte art! First, prepare a fresh shot of espresso with enough crema, which is the yummy light-brown layer on top of the espresso shot. Then, get yourself some steamed milk that was masterfully brought to the right texture. Adding cold milk to your coffee won’t do it. Don’t blame us; these are the rules of science! Some alternative milk brands will work just fine, depending on the type and brand. You can try almond milk, soy milk, and oat milk to see what works for you.

In addition to everything listed here, you need a few dedicated tools to make your coffee and decorate it with beautiful designs. Get yourself a pitcher, a lovely coffee mug, and an art tool or chopstick to work with.

Now that you have all the tools and ingredients you need, it’s time to move on to the next step and learn how the magic is done.

The coffee art technique

Several techniques are involved in the making of a pretty, designed cup of coffee. The first step includes learning how to steam the milk properly. If this sounds obvious, you’re about to learn that it’s actually one of the steps that most baristas take a while to master.

If you’re no barista and are creating coffee art to impress your friends and family, these tips will prevent you from crying over spilled milk (see what we did there?).

  • Careful, it’s hot! Don’t heat your milk before steaming it, and allow it to reach the right temperature only during the steaming process.
  • Burst the bubble: Make sure to position the wand of your steaming device at just the right height. If it’s too high, you’ll see bubbles starting to form, and that’s your cue to lower the wand just a little.
  • DIY latte art: If you don’t own a milk frother or steaming wand, you can use a simple whisk to froth the milk.

Get it right: You want your milk to reach a 140-180F temperature. When it does, remove the wand and swirl your milk until it reaches a nice, thick texture.

The next step involved makes an espresso shot, but we won’t dive into details here because any coffee lover knows how to get it right.

Now, when your espresso is resting peacefully in the coffee cup, tilt the cup a little and start pouring the milk into the center, slowly and steadily. Your movements will determine the latte art’s design, and you can create different patterns and drawings based on specific instructions or your creative imagination.

The creative design

Now we get to the fun part! You must have lots of questions regarding the design process of coffee art. We’ll try to answer them all.

  • What sort of coffee art designs can you create?The possibilities are endless, just as long as you practice your technique and keep that steamed milk flowing. The more popular designs include a tulip, a heart, and a rosetta, but we’ve seen unique, funny, and even racy designs. You can enhance your latte art design using powders and stencils or play with milk foam to create 3D designs. We even know a few places that make colorful designs using different natural materials. Here are a few dedicated Pinterest boards that’ll get your creative juices (or coffee) flowing.
  • Which designs do coffee pros create? In addition to the classic designs, some baristas manage to form more delicate works of art that are harder to mimic. Check out the work of coffee artists like Rawirat “Jibbi” Techasitthanet, Liang Fan, and Barista Brian for some inspiration. If you take your coffee art skills to the next level and share the results on social media, you may turn into an influencer yourself.
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Can latte art win you prizes?

Sure. The Coffee Masters competition has a dedicated award for the best coffee art, and the World Latte Art Championship and Milano Latte Art Challenge focus on the art of designed coffee.

It’s important to remember that some of the magic of latte art is based on natural ingredients that are part of the actual coffee-drinking experience and will not take away from the original flavor. At the end of the day, your coffee needs to taste great and not just look stunning.

The Ripple Maker

Remember that spoiler from the beginning of this article? Well, now it’s time to reveal the best and easiest way to create unlimited coffee art designs without all the hard work involved. The ingredient list is slightly different, as it relies almost exclusively on Ripples’ famous Ripple Maker. This machine will take any design in the world, very much including your own photos, and print it on coffee or other foam-based drinks within seconds and only using natural ingredients.

If like us, you believe that the moments we spend drinking coffee should be unique and memorable, you should try to incorporate coffee art into your drink preparation method. Whether you use manual or high-tech tools – it’s up to you. Just make sure that the end result is pretty and tasty. Give your customers and friends something to talk about and share your coffee art designs on social media. After all, you’re an artist at heart, and there’s no reason that the drinks you make will fail to reflect that. If you come up with a new method or create a stunning design using the Ripple Maker, let us know and maybe we’ll feature you on this blog!

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