Coffee art is created in one of two ways and sometimes using a combination of both. The first is called free-pour latte art. This method is the art of controlling and manipulating the flow of milk from a pitcher into the espresso. The second is drawing designs with an implement or skewer, known as etching.
To steam milk properly, use whole milk -- it tastes better. You can use skim, but it's thinner in taste and foams more when steamed, and foam sacrifices the taste. Also, make sure your milk is cold before steaming; temperature is very important. With some practice, you will eventually learn when it's hot enough by feeling the bottom of the milk pitcher. But, to ensure the precise temperature, you can always use a milk thermometer in your pitcher while steaming. After you steam your milk, let it sit for 30 seconds. If there are bubbles on top you should remove them with a spoon. You want the foam to be creamy and silky. Don't re-steam because the milk won't taste good. Toss it out and begin again if it's not right. When doing free-pour latte art, fold the steamed milk into the espresso. Coffee art is not only aesthetically pleasing, but it is also a way of ensuring that all of the elements that are going into that cup are perfectly balanced.
Special thanks to Amanda Byron from Joe the Art of Coffee and Sammy Lin from Bottega Del Vino and Via Quadronno.
Today's audience received the BonJour Primo Latte Milk Frother.