Who doesn’t love a little creativity in their coffee? In an effort to win over customers and celebrate the originality of specialty coffees, baristas have formed a service that we call Latte Art. It is created using the coffee crema (which is an emulsion of coffee oil and brewed coffee) from a fresh espresso pour as a canvas and then pouring freshly steamed milk foam strategically in a specific pattern to create art.
Latte Art has become so popular that there are now competitions to see who can create the most elaborate designs using just coffee and milk. Creating such designs is a learned skill and can vary from cup to cup depending on the drink that is being prepared.
There are two styles of preparing latte art. The most common in the United States is the free pour. The second style is called etching and is performed after the pour of milk using a tool to maneuver the milk into a specific pattern.