These latte art tips almost guaranteed to make you better at it

My latte art is sporadically impressive and depends largely on how good the milk I’m using is (and how well I’ve textured it – but if that’s wrong it’s just easier to blame the milk).

This slideshow from Serious Eats, perhaps more than anything else, made me more consistent because now I think I know what I’m trying to do.

“To begin, we have to lay a foundation of liquid milk underneath the crema. Start by pouring a thin stream of milk from about three inches above the top rim of your mug. The thin, liquidy milk will sink below the foamy coffee and create a supporting base for it in the bowl of the mug.
Think of the milk at this stage as being like an Olympic diver, making her body as thin as possible to pierce the surface of the pool water without creating ripples.”

Then, skipping a few steps to you have to click the link…

“When you bring the pitcher down low and increase your flow, you should see a dot, or halo, of white foam collect on the top of the coffee. This is your artistic belly-flop, and is also the genesis of the rosetta.
To begin forming what will become your leaves, you should start moving the pitcher from side to side at this point. Be sure to do this by using your hand only, not your whole arm: You’re not simply “painting” on top of the latte. Instead, imagine yourself riding a bicycle with hand-brakes, and “pump” the handle of the pitcher with your fist as though you were trying to slow your bike down on a hill.”

There’s also a guide to tulips

“When a white circle or ring appears on the coffee, lift the pitcher up again and stop pouring milk. Practice will help you get this first white blob looking neat and symmetrical.
The cup should be about a third of the way full at this point.”

“Repeat the bring-it-down-low step one more time to create the smallest top part of the flower, and then “pierce” the design to bring it together by slowly lifting the spout of the pitcher while pouring the last bit of milk in a thin stream through the middle of the circular blobs you’ve placed on the coffee.”

Handy stuff.

Brisbane Cafe Review: Belaroma Coffee Centre, Stones Corner

Belaroma has been a bit of a Sydney coffee institution for some time. One of Australia’s most famous baristas, Scottie Callaghan, is the face of their brand (check out his latte art skills in the video below). So one expects big things when they open up a “Coffee Centre” in one of Brisbane’s trendiest little cafe strips.

It was fun to see the barista using customised dosing tools, while the coffee inspired fitout, replete with laminated coffee sack tables, canvas prints of macro coffee photography, a coffee table made from a coffee machine, and a grinder lamp, and funky red wall brew bar setup also inspired confidence.

Belaroma also offers some light dining options..

The coffee was initially disappointing. The shiny La Marzocco (I couldn’t tell if it was a mistral or a mirage) promised so much.

The milk was a little too separated, and slightly too hot. The roast was a little too dark for my preference. And it was fairly bitter up front with a fruity and spicy acidity on the finish. Once the too foamy blend of milk and crema was gone it was actually a very pleasant coffee. I really loved the spiciness of the aftertaste, which the tasting notes on the blackboard identified as cardamon.


A rosetta by any other name: A review of Friday’s Brisbane Latte Art Smackdown

On Friday the crema of the crop (see what I did there – it’s a coffee pun) of Brisbane’s microfoam loving, tulip pouring, jug swirling, baristas rocked up at Veneziano’s First Pour cafe in West End for what my friend Mitch described as “the coolest sub-culture meeting ever.” The $400 in prize money, but more importantly the chance for acclaim from one’s peers, was enough of a draw to attract 47 competitors for a string of head to head latte art elimination battles. Those people brought their people, and Veneziano’s First Pour was packed with coffee lovers.

The hosts pulled out all the stops, with a sausage sizzle, free beer (though that went pretty quickly), and coffee from their brew bar.

Three judges – Queensland Latte Art Champion Scott Luengen, Tim Adams from Tim Adams Specialty Coffee on the Sunshine Coast, and Veneziano’s John-Paul Sutton – scored pourers on contrast, symmetry, and difficulty.

It was a fun night, with some amazing pieces of art produced. Here are some highlights from my phone camera – which struggled a little with the lack of light.

Mike Tam and Josh Russell Cup Specialty Coffee ended up going head to head in the Grand Final.

Here are their last few rounds, and the final itself, in video form. I shot and edited this video on my phone – and uploaded it – the sound goes a bit funny when it switches from video to photos. But you can handle that.

These are the winning pours from Cup’s Josh Russell…

In all, it was a really fun night, with a great vibe. Coffee industry peeps are the coolest, I’m always struck by how friendly people who could view themselves as competitors are with one another, there’s a real sense of camaraderie, and wanting to see the industry move and develop through cooperation – which can only benefit us end users.

Coffee Shots: Latte art that lasts

The best latte art lasts to the bottom of the cup…

I’ve taken lots of coffee shots over the last couple of years, it would be a shame not to share them. That’s what this little featurette is for.

Animal patterns in my soup… or coffee

Latte art separates the men from the boys. Even if it does have a pretty girly name. These animal videos are pretty impressive.

There are about a billion latte art videos on YouTube. Here are a couple with an animal theme:

Creative design from the South

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