Coffee gets our hearts racing, but we're truly in love with latte art. Phoenix Coffee Co. barista Antoine Franklin — a national latte art competitor — explains how to express ourselves one cup at a time.
Pour a shot of espresso into a coffee cup while steaming your milk in a pitcher. Keep the wand submerged just under the surface of the milk so it doesn't become too foamy. "You don't want to overaerate it, and you don't want it to be too thick," Franklin says. "Your milk should have the shine of wet paint." The milk is finished once the pitcher is too hot to hold.
Pour the milk directly into the center of the espresso while making a small figure-eight motion with your pour hand until half the cup is full. The milk will sink to the bottom, pushing a thick film of microfoam to the top and creating small ripples beneath the surface. "You have to create motion in order to ride the ripples when you get ready to start pouring again," Franklin says. "That just helps with how the milk integrates with the espresso."
Before pouring again, tap the pitcher of milk to rid it of any extra bubbles of air. Start your second pour at the lip of the cup while wiggling the pitcher back and forth in short quick waves. "It's kind of like parting the Red Sea," Franklin says. To create a multitiered layered effect, he suggests brief pauses to let the milk settle.