Looks like microfoam, but it won't mark the surface until the very end - Page 3

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

#21: Post by breduta »

I am using silk soy milk and havent had much luck. Im sure my technique has a lot to do with it as well


#22: Post by godlyone »

Hoenen wrote:For the substitute, I use soy sauce. You can buy 750ml for 1 EUR or so. I like it for the thickness, maybe need to water it down a bit though. Will look like this, not a nice rosetta, but you can see that it will look and feel realistic.

Wow that is very impressive. How did you do that?

I just tried to make a "soy sauce latte" haha and it came out extremely dark and black and disgusting looking lol

The difference is that the milk mixes in and doesnt lay on top because soy sauce doesnt have that crema.

I wonder if there is something we can use besides wasting coffee to practice pouring latte art

you probably meant soy milk :lol: but using soy sauce instead of espresso proved to be at least somewhat useful lol

Bert K

#23: Post by Bert K »

I am afraid he really means soy sauce, also known unter the name Ketjap. It is widely used to spice up Indonesian food. Combined with soapy water, the idea of drinking the stuff is really horrble! But it sure looks good.

And for that matter, soy milk tastes just as foul. :)

User avatar

#24: Post by Psyd »

I found that the crema that I'm getting form this latest coffee that I'm using (name withheld to protect the roaster, it's really tasty, and really nice, with this teensy exception) is rather more, well, 'plastic' than other blends or SO's. By that I mean that it becomes a raft floating on top of the espresso rather than a emulsion of air and espresso and oils and such. The foam will either break through and bloom up underneath or gather on top of this 'raft'.* If I use Heather's trick (or was it Bronwen's first?) of pouring a bit of foam in and swirling and tapping the cup, I get better results, but the truth is that I'm not really that concerned. It tastes great either way, so I pour, take what I get, and relish the flavour. I'll be out of that blend soon enough, and I'll get great art on different (but not lesser) coffee.

It just struck me, as I poured, that this may be an issue for others coming here to find out what's going on with their art...

*slight exaggerations used for illustration.
Espresso Sniper
One Shot, One Kill

LMWDP #175


#25: Post by wiz561 »

Thanks all for the info as well. I've been pulling shots for a couple of years. Granted, I don't make latte's every time, maybe once or so a month. But over the years, I have yet to be able to pour consistent latte art!

I'm going to take other's advice in this thread as well. When I first started out, I was "trained" to steam and pour a certain way. That's the way I've done it for years, which isn't working out for me. It's hard to sway from how you were starting out, but I think that's my problem.

I just discovered the following training videos from Metropolis Coffee in Chicago last night. I didn't even know these existed, and they gave me some new things to try. Here's the URL.


A few things I picked up from the videos and other postings here...

- Steam milk to 125 or 130. As it sits, it will still heat up. Not sure what I was steaming mine to, since I would stop when the sides got too hot.
- That brings me to my next point. Start using a thermometer again.
- From a posting above, I find it helps to 'swirl' the pitcher a touch to get the whirlpool going. If I just stood there steady, the whirlpool wouldn't really get started.
- When you want to start drawing, dip the tip lower and not raise the pitcher.

These are some tips that I'm going to try later on. I think one of the reasons why it's so challenging for me is because everything happens so quickly and you have so much going on at one time. Everybody also has their own technique, so you try to mimic them, but fail and get frustrated. At least, that's what happens to me. I also hate practicing because I hate wasting coffee and milk, but they say practice makes perfect...

Good luck, and one of these days, I'll be able to consistently pour latte art!

User avatar
Supporter ❤

#26: Post by Peppersass »

Great videos, great find. Thanks for putting these online, Metropolis!

What you found suggests you were stretching too much and not incorporating enough. Makes sense. The lightbulb for me was realizing that over-stretching doesn't always result in bubbles. You can get beautiful, bubble-free microfoam that's way too thick for latte art. It's what you want for a regular cappa, but doesn't work well for etching. I think the analogies with paint are good. It needs to be barely thick and still liquid. If there's a marshmallow in the center, you strectched too much.

Another way to get the whirlpool going is to gently move the pitcher around the tip after you plunge it -- i.e., move the tip around to different parts of the pitcher, raising and lowering slightly. Once the whirlpool starts, don't move the tip too much or you'll suck in more air (although that can be a good thing if you didn't stretch enough to begin with.)

Totally contradicting what I posted earlier, recently I went back to keeping the pitcher in the freezer. That helps to slow the heating process down so I don't overstretch. The video says to stop stretching when you get 1"-2" of expansion, but in my experience that's too much. I stop stretching as soon as I see evidence that the volume has increased, probably less than 1", then I start texturing. If the milk looks too loose I can always suck in a little more air while texturing.

I've been stopping the texturing much earlier, lately, just as the pitcher begins to feel barely warm. Letting it go until you can't hold it, as you often see in online videos, is way too long. I agree with the video that the milk will continue to increase in temperature after you stop, which means you have to stop around 125F-130F degrees at the highest.

Disclaimer: I use skim milk exclusively, which tends to separate quicky. The approach for full-fat milk is likely to be different.


#27: Post by Espin »

godlyone wrote: I wonder if there is something we can use besides wasting coffee to practice pouring latte art
I consider it an investment rather than a waste. I taste each one and learn something (and then, if I really am just trying for art skill development, I sink it, rather than drink it - unless it's excellent).

Using coffee instead of soy sauce only costs me about fifteen cents more per try, and lets me practice the entire process.


#28: Post by CarrotSticks »

The best advice I ever received when I was taught was to keep the milk as close to the espresso as possible. Try simpler stuff like hearts first and resist the urge to raise the pitcher when pouring. Keep it almost touching the coffee.

Pouring almost instantly after steaming and giving it a good whirl wont have any negative affect on trying to pour art. You need the foam integrated with the more liquid milk to have much luck. Letting it sit will only let them separate.

User avatar

#29: Post by HB »

CarrotSticks wrote:You need the foam integrated with the more liquid milk to have much luck. Letting it sit will only let them separate.
If your espresso machine doesn't have adequate roiling action to integrate the milk into pourable foam, good swirling/thunking will help, even if the dreaded "cotton ball" has formed. The opening video in Latte Art Challenge[d] demonstrates this point.
Dan Kehn


#30: Post by werbin »

wiz561 wrote:A few things I picked up from the videos and other postings here...
- Steam milk to 125 or 130. As it sits, it will still heat up.
Wrong. 130 F milk sitting on a counter when the air is 70 F is cooling off. Not heating up. Physics 101.

The confusion on this point is that the thermometer reading will continue to go up. That is happening because there is a time lag while the thermometer reading catches up with the actual temperature of the milk. The thermometer reading was wrong.