The Secret to Creating a Perfect Latte


The latte, more formally known as the cafe latte, the caffe e latte, or just fancy “coffee and milk,” is a widespread popular coffee beverage that uses espresso and steam milk to give drinkers that extra kick they need with great flavor. And, of course, most baristas practice for months to perfect those designs that often appear on top. 

If you’ve attempted to create your own latte – discovered the best espresso recipe, purchased a state of the art coffee frother, and are ready to get artistic – and completely fail at creating any design worth posting on Instagram, you’re not alone. 

It’s definitely something that takes dedication and practice, however, there are some secrets that baristas will never let on – why give them away when they can make you believe they have an uncomparable artistic talent?

Here are a few secrets I have compiled to help you make that tasty and beautiful Instaworthy latte.

  1. Use whole milk or half-and-half cream instead of 2% and skim. It’s almost impossible to create designs that will hold if you’re using fat-free milk. Calories should not be brought into the equation when perfecting your lattes.

  2. Be sure to clamp your espresso grind before brewing! Often, many people forget to clamp down the grinds to make a completely level puck, which in turn will provide a weak, watered-down taste.

  3. Don’t over-steam your milk. You’re making a latte, not a cappuccino! You don’t need a huge amount of frith, just enough to bring it to room temperature and is stretched to your liking. Then insert the want and continue steaming until too hot to touch with your bare hand.

  4. Swirl the espresso to cover the walls of your mug. This will ensure the steamed milk will mix properly with the espresso and result in an even distribution. You don’t want to skip this step even if you think it doesn’t matter.

  5. Tap your milk frother on the table a few times to get rid of bubbles.  This is also essential to ensure the frothed milk pours nicely into the mug to create your desired art.

Creating Perfect Latte Art:

  • Tilt your cup at a 45-degree angle.
  • Always hold the milk high enough above the mug so that it hits the bottom.

A Heart: 

  • When your mug is about ¾ full, bring the milk closer while shaking it (the milk not your mug) a tiny bit.
  • When the cup is almost full, pour a line of milk from one side of the mug’s rim to the other (right through the center top to bottom).  To create the shape of the heart.

A leaf:

  • After following the above steps and you’ve begun shaking the milk to create a design, make the length of which you shake each time to be slightly smaller in order to create the design of the leaf.

You can begin to learn other shapes, all of which require varying amounts of shaking, toothpicks, syrup. and other minor tricks. 

Use a Latte Stencil.

Image taken from Wonderland Board Game Cafe in Kingston, Ontario

Many of the more intricate art designs you may receive from baristas are actually created with stencils. In these situations, use the milk foam you would typically use and then place a plastic stencil over the drink. Take powdered cinnamon, sprinkles, or cocoa powder, or colored sugar and shake evenly over top. Then carefully bring the stencil off without tipping the leftover powder into the latte. 

Let us know how your creations turn out! We can’t wait to see.