Got this idea from an unknown cocktail with a brown looking ice cube floating in it that I came across on a website and thought to myself… What if that ice cube were made of espresso ! To the bat mobile ! (or cafe… or… laundry that houses coffee machine).
About 20 shots of espresso later, and having perfected my technique using some of Ben’s excellent (20 day old and still kicking) barista competition blend… I now had an ice cube tray full of espresso. I think the results speak for themself.
So to make an actual tasty drink out of these creations/abominations, I naturally did what any espresso loving alco would. Head to the liquour cabinet and throw in as many complimentary flavours as I could find. Kahlua was out as I already had the coffee covered. Pernod was played around with and then discarded as the aniseed was a little too over powering while the espresso was still frozen. In the end… and half drunk later… The conclusion was:
- 1 Espresso Cube (or heart, and no you cannot substitute with instant coffee, this is an elitist cocktail)
- 1 shot baileys
- 1/2 shot contrieau
- 2 shots of milk
Swirl, Sip, Savour :)
My humble photo got posted (with permission) to the Cafe Experiment. Yay :)
Ok, some more latte art shots that are really starting to take form now.
A few changes I’ve made to my routine after chatting with Ben of previous posts fame (and a professional coffee trainer).
1) Stretch the milk less.
There are two stages to steaming milk, stretching and rolling. Stretching is the name given to when you are actively incorporating air into the milk by leaving your steam wand close to the surface of the milk and drawing air down into it. Basically if you do this for the entire time you will get lots of big foamy bubbles (which is bad for latte art). If you don’t do it for long enough however, you’ll just get hot milk, with no velvety texture at all. I however, have probably been over stretching to make sure I get nice texture (which i think adds to the mouth feel when you make a nice latte), but also makes it really hard to pour latte art with any definition.
So now I just stretch for a few seconds (this is specifici to my Silvia of course) before rolling. Rolling is when you put the steam wand deeper down into the milk and get a vortex going around it, which rolls the milk around and distributes the heavier foam throughout the rest of the milk…giving you a really nice consistency.
2) Pour slowly and wiggle
If you pour too quickly it’s really difficult to make sure you’re getting all the milk in the right place to do art. So now I start by pouring really slowly, and when I see the milk starting to break through the crema on top I wiggle the tip of the jug to bring the heavier foam out, which I can then start pouring through side to side to get the shape of the rosetta.
3) Make good espresso !
Bad espresso will never lead to good latte art. The better the espresso (nice dark reddish/brown crema, well extracted) the more well defined the latte art is going to come out. If you pull a weak blond looking espresso, it makes it that much harder to get a nice looking rosetta on top.
p.s – if this is getting boring, let me know.
Just been hanging out with Ben of the newly formed Western Australian Barista Academy. Soon to be holding the WA state heats of the Australian Barista Championships.
Here’s a nice shot taken a few short minutes ago on my phone. Trying to put them roughly in sequence to show a bit of the technique Ben uses to dose, tamp and pull shots…
The shot (not the best one we pulled)
The latte art… just after Ben had almost knocked the cup over :)
Well i’d been getting kind of bored with trying to do latte art of late. My skills didn’t seem to be improving despite all my better efforts to get all the factors right. The image below is an example of the best i was capable of.
But things have all changed very rapidly. Sharon’s friend Serena was over and Sharon was showing her the website, and then some other shots of latte art… and then asked me to find the videos of people doing latte art. I hadn’t looked at them in a while and suddenly i realised what i’ve been doing wrong.
I’d been pouring from the middle to the edge and then trying to pour the rosetta back over the top… but what i saw them doing in the videos is pouring into the middle and then pouring back to the side whilst at the same time pushing the coffee outwards. So i gave it a try, and low and behold…it worked !
That was the first effort… followed very quickly by this one… Just to show it wasn’t a fluke.
Very happy by this point as it’s all so easy once you’ve got the technique right… Now i know all i need to do is work on my milk texturing and it will all come together. I managed to back it up this morning with another effort. The milk was too thick, but i’m getting close to it looking like some of the nice shots i’ve seen on other sites.
Yay ! All i needed was a little inspiration and there you have it. Look forward to some more inspired latte art efforts in the near future.
Take 3 overripe bananas, two shots of espresso (made from freshly roasted coffee of course), milk, and ice… Blend… Pour… Drink… Burp :)
This is an example of my current drink of choice. A short macchiatto (or perhaps more accurately labelled, a piccolo latte, because i prefer more milk than the “stain” referred to by macchiato).
The latte art is coming along ok, i think i’ve got the milk steaming technique in hand now… The only problem now is trying to keep my hand steady enough to pour the patterns properly… But really, most of the fun is in the trying, and you always get to drink it in the end anyway :)