Latte Heart Size

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

#1: Post by DerSchoeneBahnhof »

Hi all,

Latte newbie here. I upgraded to a new machine (Breville Barista Express) end of July and trying to learn latte heart.

I am somewhat consistent at steaming, however I often get the milk to sink more instead of expanding the heart outward on the surface. Because of this I can't really obtain patterns even by rippling a bit left and right, the heart is too small and plain.

Should I record a video of my steaming and pouring? There must be something I missed, either my milk steaming is not up to snuff, or I am not reaching the right pouring speed / spout proximity.

I am using 2% milk. Cup size is 10 oz. When not using coffee and milk, I practice with used ground beans and Barista Carl's Blend drops.



#2: Post by beans+crumble »

By no means do I consider myself a latte art expert, but I have been practicing basic designs for a few years now. Some pours are good and some not so good. YouTube is full of some pretty good latte art tutorials (some of my favorite are: Emilee Bryant, Lance Hedrick, Artist Coffee Roasters, Seven Miles Coffee Roasters, & Clive Coffee) check them out if you haven't. In my limited experience small patterns could be from starting your design too late in the cup. Tilt the cup, set up the base (in a 10 oz cup I'd go not more then 1/4 to maybe 1/2 full at the most), and start your design. If you set your base filling up the cup more than 1/2 full there will be no room left to pour a large design. Also, it looks as if your milk might be a little on the thin side... that could be affecting it as well. Try stretching/aerating the milk just a little longer to give it a bit more microfoam. Latte art is frustrating but keep practicing and as long as you've got a tasty drink the art on top in just a little bonus! Good luck

DerSchoeneBahnhof (original poster)

#3: Post by DerSchoeneBahnhof (original poster) »

Ah yes, I watched all of these basic videos from Emilee, Lance, etc. It always looks easier than it is :? Been pondering the usefulness of latte art and if I fail to get better after a year whether I should become a monk (provided that the convent has a good espresso machine)... ah, oops, got to foot the bill for son's college education. Never mind.

I'll start recording and look at videos in slow motion. This might help.

In general, 2% milk should be ok or will it render steaming more difficult?

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#4: Post by MNate »

2% is fine. You might get better microfoam might be better with higher fat content but I don't think that's the issue.

I wonder, first, if you run out of milk at the end of your pour so that you get too much foam trailing at the end of your pull through. Looks like it's dribbling out instead of a nice sharp thin line.

You could also try just pouring faster a few times. Sometimes when you're trying to get it right you just go too slowly and the lines become less clear. Go extreme and see what works - very fast or very slow, very close or quite high, lots of wiggle or none at all.

No reason to give up- or to change equipment!

DerSchoeneBahnhof (original poster)

#5: Post by DerSchoeneBahnhof (original poster) replying to MNate »

All good points, I'll keep practicing with various parameters, thanks! Not running out of milk at the end of the pour. I did once try a faster pour and it started out nicely until I destroyed it with a clumsy pull trough. Oh well. :roll:

I'll put some videos later with some practice runs.

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#6: Post by mrgnomer »

I'm no latte art expert either but I think I'm pretty good at stretching milk. My rossetti are passable. Never really practiced hearts and currently can't pour one to save my life but am going to start practicing it.

I just watched a few YouTube video instructions on milk stretching and latte art pouring and found them very instructive.

From your picture there might be a couple things that could help. You're showing bubbles which might mean you're tip may be up a bit too much while stretching and getting more air in there than you need. Keeping the tip down a little bit more and finding the angle that produces a good vortex might help to get more micro foam. Tapping the bubbles out and spinning the foam after you're finished with the stretching might also help as well. Stretched latte art milk should be smooth, shiny and have a marshmallow consistency for a good pour.

For the heart, fill from the center with the cup at an angle until is half full, stop, then swirl the cup to incorporate the milk. That will set up a good base for the latte art finish. For the finish pour in the center and start a minute wiggle as the art appears and when you're ready for the finish raise the pitcher to pour a fine stream to split the heart then go down through it to define the base. That's what the latte art barista video instructions showed.

If I get any good results with a heart I'll share. This is, IMHO, an ok rosetta poured from 2% milk.

LMWDP #116
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