Latte Art Challenge[d]

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
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#1: Post by HB »

You may have noticed that Whole Latte Love is running a latte art video contest:


I like this idea a lot more than the contest last year for latte art photos since there's a higher potential for educational value. In that vein, I made a video, but knowing (a) I could never win for lack of skills, and (b) even if I could win, it wouldn't be right, I took another approach. Rather than spend an afternoon trying to video a great pour, I instead limited myself to one take and one take only:
Let me begin with my excuses. Although I regularly drank cappuccinos for years, nowadays I prepare them only a few times a month. If I ever had latte art skills, they could only be politely described as "rusty." The video production steps also caused delays that allowed the crema to fade and the steamed milk to start cotton balling. Next time I'll have the video already going instead of fiddling with on/off switches and the camera's capture modes while the espresso sits.

Technical commentary: For a latte, too much air was injected, though it was about right for a cappuccino. I used my largest cup (12 ounces), which drew out the espresso to a thin layer, increasing the speed with which the crema dissipated. The polishing technique seen in the first part of the video eliminated the "cotton ball" and elicited a nice paint-like texture from the milk. Pouring began high, though not aggressively enough, causing an initial splash of white across what little crema remained. I should have lowered the pitcher nearer the surface and the rocking motion was too late and not quite enough.

Our more accomplished latte artists are welcome to add their own assessment of what went wrong. Or better yet, post your own video under the same rules: No do overs, no editing, just pour and post. If you're up to the challenge, enter Whole Latte Love's contest and include your first and best video here. I think the comparison between "my first try" and "my best try" could prove interesting.

PS: My kids called the above pour "a white barn owl" rather than a rosetta. Ouch! :lol:
Dan Kehn


#2: Post by Andrew »

OK, I'm too new at this to offer critique on the pour, but next time, let me give you some better background music! :roll:
"Practice more than you sleep" - Mas Oyama


#3: Post by DigMe »



ps - Say, what is the video editor that everyone seems to favor that uses that same blue background and font?

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HB (original poster)

#4: Post by HB (original poster) »

DigMe wrote:Ouch!
Uh huh. Bring it in one take, buddy. :wink:
DigMe wrote:ps - Say, what is the video editor that everyone seems to favor that uses that same blue background and font?
Windows Movie Maker. It's free, so I use it.
Dan Kehn

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#5: Post by TimEggers »

Dan you did far better than I could ever imagine I could do! I really stink at steaming milk (I just don't do it often enough to get the proper practice) but hey at least my cappas are tasty... :roll:
Tim Eggers
LMWDP #202


#6: Post by scottyg514 »

Thats the best looking................Tamper I've ever seen!

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HB (original poster)

#7: Post by HB (original poster) replying to scottyg514 »

OK, I'm guilty of product placement, but there was a practical reason. The camera needed to focus on something and it was placed as a guide to tell me where to hold the pitcher so it'd be in frame. That is, if I could not see the tamper from my point of view, I knew it was correctly in frame.

So, when will I be able to critique your no retake pour? Or DigMe's?
Dan Kehn

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#8: Post by RegulatorJohnson »

HB wrote:So, when will I be able to critique your no retake pour? Or DigMe's?
ill bite
first try.

2012 BGA SW region rep. Roaster@cognoscenti LA

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#9: Post by jesawdy »

RegulatorJohnson wrote:ill bite

Nice! I think I see what I'm doing wrong in my own pours... must practice. It doesn't help that I only make cappas for my wife maybe 1-2 times per week.
Jeff Sawdy


#10: Post by Dogshot »

Dan, I (should) have no comment on your latte pour, since Abe has already summed things up in what I believe is one of the funniest posts here on HB:

Buyer's Guide to the Expobar Brewtus
HB wrote:PS: Please humor me by not asking if it was supposed to be a rosetta or a heart.
Abe Carmeli wrote:Dan, that's one hell of an onion.
Maybe you are creating a new form of espresso-art: Latte Rorschach :lol:

Actually, I know what it's like to try to manage kids while pouring latte art, and my art is certainly no better.

LMWDP #106