Over the past several months, Ben Bicknell from the WA Barista Academy has delved into the differences between home espresso machines, preparing your espresso shots and milk texturing but whether you’re a budding home enthusiast or a veteran barista, everybody wants to try Latte Art! The Rosetta, a fern or leaf shaped pattern, is the most well known and often the most difficult design to master. This month Ben explains the process step by step, so you can try it at home.

So you’re getting consistently good shots of espresso and you’ve mastered your milk steaming with silky consistency. But all your challenges are not surmounted! Increasingly in cafes around Australia, patterns and designs are flowing onto the surfaces of coffees — while everyone around you is happily enjoying the filigreed designs, your frustration builds as you get no closer to achieving more that what your friends and family fondly refer to as your ‘abstract phase’. Well it’s time for that to change — below are some tips and pointers for getting you closer to giving birth to your first Rosetta.

My first prefacing statement would be that without a good set of shots as the base for your coffee, there’s no way you’re going to be able to achieve great latte art, let alone a good tasting coffee: so get those shots right! Remember: once your face gets close enough for the first sip, no-one can see the latte art anyway!

Secondly, you really need to have mastered your milk texturing before attempting your Rosetta. If your milk is lumpy, airy, too foamy, not foamy enough or not folded together thoroughly, you’re going to have all kinds of problems as you try to pour.

Another important factor is the spout on your milk jug (something that you generally only learn after purchasing 37 different milk jugs to find — the right one). Make sure that your milk jug has a clearly defined spout — check out our Incasa Milk Jugs we’ve got in stock: one of the reasons we chose these jugs is that they’re great for latte art. A spout with no point or one that has a big lip at the edge will disperse your milk widely, restricting you from any fine detail.

Alright — you know what you’re aiming for and you’ve prepared your shots. For the Rosetta, you want to steam your milk as if for a flat white — much thicker than this and there will be no definition to your design. Once you’ve steamed your milk (check out last month’s Café in your Kitchen — Part II article if you’re not sure about this), you’re ready to roll!

Begin pouring straight into the center, keeping the jug low to the cup. Begin with quite a slow pour to help stabilise the crema in the cup. Once you’re around 1/3 of the way up the cup, move the jug so you’re pouring towards the back and start slightly shaking or ‘jiggling’ the jug side to side to throw the foam forward. Once the foam has marked the surface of the crema, continue that same shaking or swaying motion while moving the pour backwards through the cup. Upon reaching the front of the cup, pour in a straight line toward the back of the cup, through the lines you’ve previously created. Your swaying motion will create the leaves of the Rosetta with the final pull through creating the stem.

Alright — that’s a step by step walk through but check out the cool time lapse photos of the process! Firstly there is the close-up version so you can see the coffee in the cup.

And secondly from a bit further away so you can see the hand movement.

A few more tips:

  • Always make sure that the tip of your milk jug spout is as close to the surface of the milk as possible (pour low).
  • Once you’ve shaken the white to the surface, use a fairly slow swaying motion to create the leaves — don’t zig-zag but rather rotate just your wrist.
  • Try with a large cup to begin with — more surface area = more canvas.
  • Always attempt to have only as much steamed milk as you need in the jug: too much milk and the angle of your pour towards the end will still be too low.

So with these tips, hopefully you’re closer to achieving that great finish to your coffees, and always remember: the espresso base and texture of your milk are the most important factors — latte art is the icing on the cake!

Visit the Domestic Equipment for our range of home espresso machines and Associated Products for our espresso workstation gear.

If you want more hands-on practice and tuition in latte art, sign up for a Latte Art Class at the WA Barista Academy. They can be contacted on info@baristaacademy.com.au or by calling (08) 9328 7675.

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