Latte art for beginners. Your first picture in coffee


As the saying goes, "no scholar has fallen from the sky". All baristas, like us, started with spilt milk. After our first attempts, we rejoiced at the success of our own artwork in coffee. It was reminiscent of Dali's spilled clock. But we were proud. Other spilled coffees were decorated with round apples right in the middle of the cup.

They were followed by quite symmetrical hearts of milk on the surface of the cappuccino. The hearts got sharper and bigger until they formed tulips. At that point we alternated the tulips with rosettes (the kind of fern on the surface of the "lattes" ) With the next order, we tried combining the rosettes and hearts in one cup, creating the swan you love so much.

Just like us and all baristas around the world, you too can learn to draw swans in your coffee. All you have to do iswant to, learn and practice. By fulfilling these three conditions you will master thelatte art technique. Eventually, you'll be able to draw anything you can think of in your coffee. Because you'll know how to do it. We're here to help you understand how towork and draw with milk. We'll give you hints, tips, tricks and tutorials. So let's do it.


On barista courses you alwayslearn how to make espresso first. For your cappuccino or caffé latte to be good, everything that makes it up must be good. That means milk and coffee. Making coffee starts with choosing a good quality roast. The sweetest cappuccino is made from coffee with higher acidity. So first, master the proper espresso preparation. Then get to grips with latte art.


If you've mastered espresso preparation, let's look together at the second success factor for latte art, milk. Always full-fat and always chilled. These are the basic requirements for milk before the actual whisking.

Of course, you can also whip semi-warm milk. But it's a bit more complicated. For one thing, you have to have "whipped" something in your life, and yet even the most experienced barista will not get the desired smooth and long-lasting microfoam from such milk in a teapot. So buy a supply ofmilk with more than 3.5% fat and chillthe milk in the fridge before using it.


Whisking milk goes through two stages. Frothing and stirring. The first phase involves blasting hot steam into the cold milk to createair bubbles that form afluffy milk foamat the top of the jug . The frothing itself will raise the level in your jug and if you have taken a suitable position for whisking at the start , you don't need to move the jug at all for the whisking process to move spontaneously into the second stage - stirring.

Thenozzle, which is now hidden under a layer of foam, swirls the milk in the jugwith a stream of steam . This whirlpool mixes the foam that was on the surface with the liquid milk from the bottom of the jug. Its large bubbles split into small ones until they permeate the milk throughout the entire volume of the teapot, turning the milk and foam intoa complex, thick liquid. Milk microfoam.

Always stop this second part of the milk whipping process before the milk reaches a temperature of 70°C. The idealmilk temperatureis 65°C. On your first attempts to whip the milk, use a thermometer to get a good estimate. In time, you will then be able to hit the correct milk temperature just by touching the jug with your hand.


A coffee maker is different from a coffee machine. The differences in the strength and shape of the nozzle can catch many an experienced barista off guard. Even more so with a home coffee machine, it will take you a while to find a "common ground". Once you've got the nozzle in the right position, turn the steam on full blast. Rather than using the nozzle, move the teapot a little to the side if you already have to adjust your whipping position.

The basic position is to set the nozzle at a 45° angle, inserting the steam nozzle of your coffee machine a few millimetres below the milk level so that the nozzle does not point exactly in the middle of the teapot, but ends about 2 cm from the edge of the teapot. If it were closer to the edge, the steam stream would not have the space it needs to swirl. You don't whip up foam, but you do hear an unpleasant squeaking sound. If the nozzle is further away from the edge of the jug, the steam stream will have too much space and will not be directed into the vortex you are whipping the milk with.

Thevertical placement of the nozzle determines how frothy the milk will end up being. If your nozzleis on the surface of the milk for too long, which can happen when the jug in your hand drops a little from its original position while frothing, your froth will contain many large bubbles that you won't have time to mix nicely. The whipped milk will then be too thick. You don't draw very well with milk that thick, and then you won't draw anything at all with milk that is very thick. You'll be scooping it into your coffee with a spoon.

On the other hand, if the time of the first phase, i.e. the frothing, is too short, for example because youmanage to dip the nozzle deeper into the milk a moment after letting off steam, there will not be enough air bubbles in the milk to create microfoam. You won't draw much with this thin milk either. Liquid milk willfoam up your coffee.


At the stage of learning to whip the milk itself, you have no choice but totry, practice, notice mistakes and correct those mistakes. You will find themost suitable whipping style foryou and your coffee machine. Not only your eyesight can help you practice, but also your hearing. A cracking sound can be heard at the initial frothing. Itis the sound of air being blown into the milk.

You can judge the frothing timeby ear . If you also hear this sound during the stirring phase, which should sound like a low murmur, you will know that an extra bubble of air has entered the milk. You can hardly whisk it in anymore. In this case, one vigorous tap of the jug on the table top after whisking can help.


Do you already know how to make a good espresso and whisk the milk properly? Well done! We're ready to start the first picture. Before pouring the milk into the coffee, you need toprepare the whisked microfoam for this purpose, at least by polishing it .

How do you polish milk? By swirling. The whisked milk in the teapot has a smooth but dull texture. This is improved byswirling the teapot a few times. With a simple circular motion of the hand holding the teapot, your whipped milk will get a nice glossy look and will blend better.

The glossy milk is almost ready to pour into the cup. Now comes the final preparation step. An experienced barista will manage to whisk the milk so well that it skips this point. Most people, however, have to come to it. The final step is to pour the thickest milk from the teapot before pouring it into the coffee.

Even if you stir the milk during the second stage of this process to make it as thick as possible, and eventually polish it off by hand stirring as well, it remains a littlethicker at the surface. As we said above, you can't draw well with thick milk, so in keeping with that fact, just pour this thick milk away. At this point you will be ready todraw your first picture.


The most basic picture that all complete beginners start with is an apple. In making this picture , you will learn tocoordinate your right hand with your left, understand the principle of making pictures in coffee, and develop the habits of pouring milk into coffee.

The technique of drawing an apple is the basis for further and more complex patterns. After a few times of coffee with the apple ,you will have automated the pouringmovements and creating further shapes will be much easier thanks to this newly acquired motor memory. So how to make an apple?

  1. When creating a cappuccino with an apple, you will pour the milk in two basic stages of the latte art technique. Thefirst stage is pouring the milk into the coffee in order to getthe right volume suitable for drawing a certain shape. You pour the milk from a height of about 5 cm above the cup. Your goal is to get themilk under the crema of your espresso.
  2. At the same time, you are trying toset up the espresso for the falling milk so that it is deeper and the milk has room to settle just below the crema. It is therefore recommended to tilt the coffee cup. In this way fill about half of the cup and proceed to the second stage, the actual drawing of the picture.
  3. The picture is drawn with milk directly into the crema of your coffee. In order for the milk spot from which the picture will be made to fit well into the coffee crema, you need to keep the level of the milk in the pot asclose as possible to the level of the coffee in the cup. Therefore, with the teapot, which we have hitherto held above the cup, we will come quiteclose to touching the cup.
  4. Pour the milk into the cappuccino. At the same time as the coffee level rises, level the cup with the coffee. But keep the teapot with the milk at the same slope! This is where the interplay between the right and left hand is important. Once the cup is full, stop pouring milk and the apple is ready. I mean, on the surface.