What is it? How did it begin? How do you create it? First of all, latte art became a thing in the 1980’s and ’90s by some guy named David Schomer. This guy was the owner of Seattle’s Espresso Vivace coffee shop and was given majority of the credit for making latte art popular within the coffee culture. So what is actual latte art? If you are unfamiliar with lattes, a latte is a type of coffee drink that consists of espresso and hot steamed milk that is creamier than a cappuccino. If you are familiar, then you probably witness various Instagram posts of latte art on the daily. And that is no exaggeration. Moreover, latte art is essentially the art of pouring this hot steamed milk into a shot of espresso. This creates a mixture between the two that allows for the pretty patterns to emerge. Think of it this way: the espresso is your canvas and the hot steamed milk is your paint.
Patterns can range from the traditional, like the heart or the rosetta, to more intricate designs like actual faces, portraits, or doodles. You can achieve the traditional patterns by simply free pouring. Like its name, you are essentially pouring the milk into the espresso straight from the jug. This method requires dexterity and a lot of patience. The second most common technique for creating latte art is etching. This method is the more advanced of the two requiring some serious skill. When a barista is etching, he or she actually uses some kind of thin tool to form an image after the milk has been poured. So next time you are at a coffee shop grabbing your latte, be sure to thank the lovely barista for their latte art.