If you've ever marvelled at the skill of the barista as they decorate your favourite beverage with their signature design in the creamy microfoam, read on...
It's a skill known as latte art that has become so popular there's even an annual World championship! Last year's winner was Italian Manuela Fensore who wowed the judges with her designs of a horse, an eagle, and a parrot!
But most latte artists begin their creative journey with the less complicated heart design - a leaf-like rosetta - before moving on to more advanced designs such as the swan and tulip.
Not surprisingly, latte art is believed to have originated in Italy. However, the Seattle coffee scene generally gets credit for developing this art form and bringing it to the masses.
The chemistry behind latte art is beautifully simple: it's how the crema (coffee oil emulsion and brewed coffee) mixes with the microfoam (the aerated milk). Unfortunately, this combination is not stable so the crema dissipates and the microfoam separates quite quickly - the art of the barista is a fleeting creation!
And if you prefer your coffee with an alternative to dairy milk such as oat, soy or almond milk, latte art is still achievable. Check out the video below for the specific techniques for milk aternatives.
Now it's time to impress your family and friends with your own latte art!
To start, all you need is a jug of cold water and a cup, then watch the beginner's video below from our friends at La Marzocco, then practise until perfect!
And, when you're ready to take your coffee-making skills to the next level, check out our Barista Coffee School too!