Latte art troubles - milk sinking

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#1: Post by ArtVandelay0 »

Hi everyone!

New to the world of home espresso, most of my coffee journey has been in the pour over world. I have a GCP and a Eureka Mignon grinder, for starters.

I'm having a real hard time getting any sort of form to my cappuccino art (lattes are a bit too much milk for me). My milk, to my untrained eye, looks decent. It certainly has that "wet paint" look. It might be a bit over aerated, or at least "under combined" sometimes, but it's hard to tell what "perfect" looks like from videos.

I finally filmed myself earlier, and I see that after I make my base pour, my first close / art pour sinks right to the bottom. You can see that I can sometimes get a really small, uncontrolled design, but the milk in general just seems to sink below the surface and not sit on it.

Do you think this is a milk texture thing, a proximity thing, a flow rate thing? I certainly understand this takes practice, but I want to make sure I know what to improve and focus on.


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#2: Post by crwper »

To my eye, it looks like you're starting a little higher than I would and pouring quite fast. Easy experiment: Try starting closer to the surface and pouring more slowly, and see if things improve. :-)

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#3: Post by Peppersass »

Yes, if you pour too high, the milk will sink to the bottom. You're pretty high at the beginning, but by the end it looks like you got low enough. However, your orientation looks backwards for most basic latte art I've seen and done.

Typically, you tilt the cup toward you, then begin the pour around 4-6 inches above the cup. Swirl the stream of milk around the cup as you do this initial pour. This will create a more uniform surface for the design. As you do this, move the pitcher slowly toward the surface of the coffee. Then, depending on the design, move the pitcher to the far end (away from you) or the middle, drop the pitcher close to the surface of the coffee -- say, 1" or less -- and start the design. For most designs, you wiggle the pitcher and move the stream toward you as you slowly tilt the cup to level. Once you reach the near edge, you lift the pitcher an inch or two and use the stream to cut a stroke through the design (making ferns, hearts, tulips, etc.)

There are tons of latte art videos on the web that show a similar sequence.

If you try a sequence that works in one of the videos, but not for you, try stretching just a little more or use milk with a higher fat content.


#4: Post by Pressino »

On a very positive note, your microfoam looks just fine. :)

Also, you might want to start out with a relatively simple "Monk's Head" design till you get it perfect, then move to more complex (requiring more movements to produce) designs. :idea:

ArtVandelay0 (original poster)

#5: Post by ArtVandelay0 (original poster) »

Trust me, I'm not trying to do anything complex lol. I've watched so many YouTube videos, and it seems like it's such a simple pour to get a monks head/heart shape. I even tried on less volume in a "modern" macchiato. My milk just sinks like a rock.


#6: Post by ojt »

I'm no expert but the glass seems like it's not the easiest to practice on. Try in a round bottommed cup perhaps. You should get closer to the coffee with the spout. That's what Peppersass is saying (I think), tilting a wide cup usually brings the coffee surface close to the rim of the cup, then you'd pour and straighten the cup slowly.

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#7: Post by MB »

Incorporation within the milk jug should be considered. You can over foam/stretch slightly and then pour the jug into a measuring cup and back immediately before pouring to see if that helps.

Also, think of gliding the milk across the surface of the coffee once you lower the jug. The less downward force, the better.
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#8: Post by coffeechan »

It looks like your milk steaming technique needs improvement. Milk steaming may look easy, but getting latte art quality microfoam can be a challenge with a certain class of home machine. How long did the drink sit after the pour in your second picture? There are noticeably large bubbles on the surface of the drink. This can happen if you've injected too much air/bubbles at the start or not integrated/mixed the milk adequately after. Steaming milk is a significant part of getting good latte art pours and better mouthfeel in drinks. It might take awhile, but consistent practice will get you there.

I'll link Lance Hendrick's steaming milk video and Emilee Bryant's as well who steams on a Silvia which is similar to a GCP. Both are professional baristas.


#9: Post by jdrobison »

I agree that the cup is a challenging shape to learn on. You can certainly create good art with it, it just adds another variable to work around. A shallower, wider cup will allow you to get the pitcher tip closer to the surface and right now you're starting with it pretty far above.

I think your rate of flow is much too fast - especially at the start of the art pour, you really want to allow the foam to sit on top and then you'll speed up as the continued addition of milk thickens the drink.