Latte art not spreading

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.

#1: Post by MollieT »

Hey! I have a sage due temp and am trying to master the art of latte art! I'm getting a nice glossy feel to my milk and have a thermometer so am steaming to approx 60-65c. I just can not get my art to push round the edge of the cups and spread to the whole cup. Feel like I can't make a proper pattern without mastering this. Im tilting my cup and pouring as close as possible

... Any tips?


#2: Post by beans+crumble »

If you're confident that your milk texture is good (don't underestimate how important proper milk texturing is to pouring nice latte art) then just keep practicing. Latte art isn't easy and takes a lot of time, practice, and patience. From what I've read, watched, and experienced myself... if you are getting small patterns then you may be starting to pour your art too late (meaning you're filling up the cup with too much milk during the incorporating phase). Try not filling the cup up more than 1/4 to 1/2 of the way before starting to pour your design... play with the amount you add until you find the spot that you have enough room to pour your pattern.

Also be sure you're using the correct sized milk pitcher with the correct amount of milk for the size of cup you're pouring into... sometimes too small of a milk pitcher is used and you don't have enough milk to make a large design. I suggest to start with a basic pattern (monks head and heart), master that, before trying the more advanced patterns.

Solid milk texture first and foremost then practice practice practice... then practice some more. Have fun and good luck!

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#3: Post by MB »

I agree, it looks like so much milk was incorporated with the espresso that the base to pour on is too stiff for your heart to spread. It could also be the quality of the steamed milk.

Here's a series of videos from a latte art champion that on the second video explains this and other insights. Start with the first one to get the steamed milk right. ... jfIQt8Q_0j

Also, you might want to check out another latte art champ, Emilee Bryant's thoughts on transferring to a larger pitcher for the pour.
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#4: Post by another_jim »

Yours looks better than most of my efforts. But my two cents is that you might try pouring faster to start. The size of the pattern depends on the rate of pour, If you pour very slowly, the pattern stays small.
Jim Schulman

MollieT (original poster)

#5: Post by MollieT (original poster) »

Hi! Thanks so much! Obviously I can't be 100% about my milk texture as I've never been taught but from what I tell its OK! How should I know the right size pitcher? Just so it has the right amount of milk? Tbf I just tried filling the cup less before starting the art and I think it worked better! X

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#6: Post by MB »

Nicely done! Most people use just their regular sized steaming pitcher, but pouring from your regular ~400ml steaming pitcher down the inside wall of the recommended 600-650ml pitcher incorporates the foam for a smoother pour. It's a nice trick plus it's easier to swirl and incorporate the milk in the larger pitcher to keep it from separating.
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#7: Post by spiffdude »

You are getting there!

Maybe try a milk texture a little more on the liquid side of things. Looks like your designs are a little stiff still.

The rest is just practice, you will learn to "lean into" the pour to get the design to occupy the whole cup. It's something that you adjust on the fly as the design is forming, so it take repetition.

As for milk jug size, i'm not sure it matters that much, I only use 12oz pitchers, pretty small.
Unless you are pouring 8-12oz lattes... Then yes, bigger pitcher.

Here's an example, 6oz flat white with oat milk.

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#8: Post by beans+crumble »

Looking good! I would second the above comment that the milk looks a little stiff... adding just a little less air might help as well.

As far as right sized pitcher... I was just referring to a pitcher that holds enough milk that can allow for the increase in volume when texturing. When you pour having a little bit left in your pitcher (vs having it completely empty). Just don't use a small pitcher for a large cup... makes things a bit harder.

MollieT (original poster)

#9: Post by MollieT (original poster) »

Thanks everyone!

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#10: Post by iploya »

My guess is (agreeing with another poster above) that you need to start the art much earlier in the pour.

I recently started watching Emilee Bryant, too. Her explanations are great. Check out the following video, the part about integrating less:
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