A Latte Art instructor, 10-year Barista & Baristaswag.com founder
It might sound lame, but the reason I got into coffee was not my love of espresso; it was the artistic aspect, AKA Latte Art. When I started out about 12 years ago, there were almost no YouTube or Instagram accounts to learn from, so I had to teach myself. I hope I will be able to help you get started with this most basic Latte Art pattern, the heart!
So, whether you're brand new to the world of latte art or want to perfect your elementary pours - in today's article we're going to teach you everything you need to know about pouring the perfect heart latte art.
Before you dive right in and start pouring, let's make sure that we have all the necessary basics down pat.
It should go without mention that to pour the perfect latte, you need to have all of the prerequisites in place. As if it only ever boiled down to adding some milk to your coffee - we baristas would simply be extinct.
First of all, you'll need to have the right milk frothing pitcher for latte art.
Once you've got your pitcher ready, it's time for us to talk about milk.
At the end of the day, milk is made up of a combination of sugar, fat, and various proteins. And when we steam said milk, the basic sugars and fats actually end up breaking themselves down into simpler sugars, thus making the steamed milk that much sweeter, and our coffee creations that much tastier.
While we won't cover the in-depth process of how to properly steam milk for latte art, once your milk is steamed, you're ready to move to the next step.
Thankfully, pouring a heart latte art is one of the easiest designs that you can do. Here are the steps:
Start your pour with your cup roughly 4 inches or so away from the spout to create an evenly-colored base for the design. The keys to this step are making sure you have an even color and texture going on, so don't be afraid to move the pitcher back and forth as needed to get those going.
Pour steadily until you've filled the cup roughly halfway or three-quarters full. At this stage, bring the spout of your pitcher as close as possible to the surface of the drink, without actually touching the surface.
Pour the milk at a steady speed right into the center of the cup until you gradually see a white circle of foam appears and the shape of your design starts to take place.
This is where you want to bring the pitcher back a little bit and angle the cup slightly towards the pitcher. You'll want to swiftly pour upwards through the heart design, "striking it through" in a sense.
If you want to get a bit fancy, you can also give your pitcher a few slight and gentle wiggles during the final pour to give your design a little bit of extra artistic oomph!
There you have it, a beautiful heart latte art that you've poured all by yourself! Give yourself a good pat on the back for the job well done.
And if the design didn't quite come out as good as you hoped it would be, don't worry - now that you know how it's done, it's all about practice and getting your speed and motion right. So, if you give it a shot a few more times, you'll start pouring beautiful heart latte art in no time at all!
Whether you're a beginner or a pro barista, it never hurts to brush up on the basics. That's why we've listed out some of the most common mistakes that people make when trying to pour a heart, or any latte art for that matter.
Getting your pouring speed right is key. If you pour too slow, you'll end up with all of the less-aerated milk going into the drink, while the well-aerated milk stays put in the pitcher. This not only ruins the quality of the design, but it also makes for a far less tasty drink.
Sure, it looks fancy and showy. But lifting the pitcher from the surface of the beverage actually results in the milk you're pouring going into the crema rather than coming to a rest on top of it, which is what actually allows you to form the design you're trying to pour in the first place.
Inversely, if you keep the spout too close to the surface, you won't really get a design going at all as the milk will just pool over on top of the crema. At the end of the day, it's all about practice and finding that golden sweet spot.
And there you have it - our comprehensive, easy to follow guide on pouring the perfect heart latte art.
We've given you all the knowledge you need to know, the steps you need to take and the mistakes you should avoid.
So, with that - here's to your success in making beautiful latte art!