21 Nov National Espresso Day and Latte Art
According to the good people at Breville, makers of fine espresso machines and other things kitcheny, today is National Espresso Day. The chocolate swirl lily is my caffeinated tribute.
Now before you ooh and ahh, let me tell you it took eight tries, half a litre of milk and enough chocolate syrup to induce a diabetic coma to produce this. Much as I love my low-tech latte whip, I quickly discovered it just doesn’t produce the quality of foam required to make coffee house art. See all the air in the photo below? Not good.
This flimsy foam let the chocolate sink to the bottom. Sure the final drink was tasty, but it couldn’t support the design I intended.
So I moved onto “free pour” techniques. Breville produced a number of short instructional videos revealing the secrets of making latte art. I watched as Jessica Kelly, professional barista, poured foam hearts, double ferns (called rosettas for some reason) and a chain of hearts. She made it look easy. I made it look messy. Instead of swirling into the coffee in impressive patterns, my foam slid across the surface of the espresso like a frothy oil slick. There is no photo of my failure but if you imagine a cup-sized bubble bath that’s what I produced. Cup after cup after cup. Clearly you need the power of steam to produce the quality of froth for this kind of art.
While I’d love a professional grade espresso machine, my crowded kitchen is just too small. But now I’m itching to try the free pour techniques I learned. Anyone got an espresso machine? You provide the steam. I’ll bring the beans and milk.