by Vincent Distrola, San Francisco Store Operations
I remember being a teenager in my home town of Riverside, hanging out at my local coffee shop every weekend. Pouring mochas, the craft of being a barista using a manual machine always intrigued me. For me, it was moments like those when I realized there is no better way to connect to someone than coffee. Handing off a latte can be a wordless interaction yet can be a powerful form of nonverbal communication. When I pour a heart, rosetta, or tulip for someone, seeing a customer’s smile is the best part. The art on top of coffee is unique every time, and it makes the connection feel more personal. Although I understand the art is pretty, getting to watch people enjoy their beverage is equally as satisfying for me.
However, latte art, as I learned, is not just a skill one develops as a barista. It takes concentration, time, and practice. The first step is having decent equipment. An espresso machine needs to be able to be powerful enough to create a micro-foam type texture without burning or stretching out the milk too much. More than just milk, you need good coffee to create latte art. Weaver’s Espresso Blends forms thick crema which is perfect for pouring and houses much of the aroma and flavor for a drink. After you have your espresso and milk ready, you want to start pouring the milk so that you sink while the crema rises to the top. About two thirds filled, you stop pouring and slowly go back in so your milk is now sitting on top with your crema. You can vary pouring speed, wrist movement, and stop/start techniques to create different designs in the beverage. It just all takes practice!