"While many agree that making a good cup of espresso coffee is an art within itself, 'coffee art', also known as 'latte art', refers to creative patterns made from the velvety milk foam skillfully poured into a rich crema-crowned espresso coffee."
Coffee/Latte Art is essentially an endless endeavour of creative expression, which can be created by various methods (explained in more detail below) including;
(Copyright Material 2007- I Love Coffee! Over 100 Easy and Delicious Coffee Drinks)
Coffee and/or Latte Art is created by:
(i) “FREE-POURING”: Is a skillful style of “free-pouring” velvety smooth steamed/foamed milk into a “perfect shot” of crema-crowned espresso coffee. The person pouring has a practiced hand (and wrist!) that masterfully creates an attractive pattern or design on the surface of the resulting latte or cappuccino.
Coffee/latte art can be particularly difficult to create consistently, due to the demanding conditions required of both the espresso shot and milk texture.
This method however is limited by the experience of the barista (coffee-making individual) and the professional quality of the espresso machine. Free-pouring coffee/latte art is a critical skill which can take years to master. A barista is like a “Gretzky” doing the same thing over and over again until he finally becomes an expert coffee/latte artist!
(ii) EASY “NEEDLE ETCHING”: Is a form of Latte art which can be created or embellished by simply “drawing” or "etching" the espresso coffee throughout the top layers of the velvetly milk foam. It’s certainly not the pro barista "free pouring" style but it is an easy alternative to creating stunning coffee art if “free-pouring” is too difficult for you.
(Coffee art animation created by Daniel Benmayor/Coffee Art book)
Needle Etching is done by using either a toothpick, end of thermometer, or end of a cocktail stirrer (just to mention a few gadget examples) to pull the darker espresso coffee colors through the rich, white milk foam.
(iii) COFFEE ART STENCILS: (available for purchase below):
Very easy "Coffee or Latte Art Stencils" are a practical and easy method to creating money-saving coffee art creations – which anyone can do (including me!) A plastic (or stainless steel) cut-out stencil is placed on top of the freshly poured hot milk foam (which has just been poured into the espresso coffee).
You rest the stencil on top of cup (milk foam), then sprinkle cocoa powder or cinnamon (or favorite powdered topping) on top of the stencil to form a consistent blanket of powder.
By gently pulling the stencil design away - voila! a attractive coffee art has been created on your favorite coffee-based beverage. (I like to call it "Beauty and the Buzz" or "Van Gogh in your Cup!")
These cool coffee art cuppas are for real !
Here is a unique political pour of a cup of Obama!
Try coffee painting "faces into foam"!
(Courtesy of Phillips/Farrugia, flavors of Lakhoum in Swan St)
Unfortunately not everyone (including myself) is capable of perfect "free-pouring" latte art masterpieces like a champion barista can - since it requires practice, practice and more practice! (I've spent most of my years communicating my coffee passion through my writing. Now, when I try to free-pour a heart-shaped coffee art design, I end up more or less with a "broken heart"! :-)
Baristi all around the world are skillfully talented and creative coffee-making individuals who are the true creators of coffee art masterpieces. In April 2009, the 10th annual World Barista Championships are taking place in Atlanta GA, USA. Over 50 Countries will be represented and these Coffee (Athelete) Champions will be competing and pouring for Foam Supremacy. I applaud these superbaristi - bravo! In their hands however, our humble cup of coffee has become an artful experience - which, is almost a shame to spoil with a sip!
Here are a few easy "how-to" visuals to help give you some ideas for "free-pour coffee art designs, coffee etching, and coffee art stencils:
"How to Free-pour a TULIP" video:
"How to Free-pour a ROSETTA" video:
"How to Make 5 Easy Hearts" video:
"How to Pour/Make a CHRISTMAS TREE" video:
"How to Espresso Coffee 'n' Milk Foam ETCHING” video:
"How to Use Coffee Art Stencils" video:
The following 8 pics: Courtesy of Sammy Piccolo