How to Make Coffee Art
A good cup of coffee is something to relish. In fact, many coffee lovers believe the brewing process required to produce a tremendous cup of java is an art in and of itself. While we can debate the merits of this view, what is clear is there is another form of coffee art that is visual and has also become very popular thanks to some creative people in coffee shops. Don’t worry. You can do it at home as well.
What Is It?
What is coffee art? It is the creation of designs in the foam of a cup of coffee. You’ve probably seen this from time-to-time. Creative baristas practice their art on customer orders all the time now. The foam of your coffee might come with a flower on it or some geometric design. I actually had one barista who used to put my name on mine. One young lady who apparently took a fancy to me actually put her phone number! Regardless, the image is usually a brown outline on the white milk foam, but more and more colors are being added these days as people get more and more creative.
So how do you make coffee art? The first thing to understand is you are going to need a shot of espresso with a brema and steamed milk. This is true for any of the artistic endeavors you try to create. From here, there are many different ways to create images, so let’s look at a few of the easier and better known ways.
The first method involves the sophisticated pour. You want to pour the espresso shot into the coffee cup in question. Then you take your steamed milk and pour it into different areas of the espresso surface. The pours should be done for about a second longer than you think appropriate. What tends to happen is the milk is submerged with the pour, but then rises and spreads out once you stop pouring it. By angling the cup and strategically locating the pours, you can create hearts and other shapes.
I’ll be honest. I’ve never been able to get the pouring technique right. My hearts come out as something that would probably scare a doctor. My circles look like sickly onions and, well, you get the idea. If you can get the hang of creating coffee art through purely pouring techniques, you are a better barista than me.
Point and Pull
The point and pull method is much simpler. With this technique, you use an object to create images in the coffee. You start buy first adding espresso to a cup followed by steam milk poured into the center. At this point, the surface of your coffee should look like a white circle surrounded by brown. Now we are ready to invoke Picasso!
To create images, you just use a thin pointed item like a coffee mixer or toothpick. When you run it through the steamed milk, the milk will tend to stick to it. This will create a tug across the surface and draw the espresso from the edge inwards and from below the milk up to the surface. For example, you can draw the item you are using from each side to the middle of the foam and the single circle will become two.
Then we have the point method. Image your white circle of steamed milk surrounded by espresso. You can dip your pointy item in the espresso and then dip it in the milk. The espresso will be transferred and spread out just a bit. For example, one would make two small pricks with espresso to make the eyes of a face. One could then poke through the milk immediately below the eyes and drag the toothpick to the right and left in the shape of lips. The espresso under the milk will rise and, ta da, you have a face.
This is obviously very rudimentary. Once you get the idea of how to make lines and images, you can start making more sophisticated designs to impress all your friends. You might even want to start with a snowman. The way to do this is to pour a cup of espresso. Now take a spoonful of milk foam and dab it to one side of the cup surface. Take a second smaller spoonful of milk and dab it to the opposite side. You now have your snowman figure. In the smaller circle, add the eyes and lips in the manner I mentioned above. It is simple, but your friends will be impressed!
Life is too short not to have a bit of fun along the way. Coffee art may not sell for millions of dollars at auction, but who really cares. It is a good bit of fun, so give it a try. If your design doesn’t work out…just drink it!