*I am no expert, far from it, so this is mainly intended for those who know very little or close to none about coffee*
Ever since I became a barista, I have so much more respect for other baristas. This job is not easy as it requires patience and determination to achieve a good cup of coffee. When I first started, I was trained extensively in making microfoam. To not waste any milk, my manager provided me with a substitute: a mixture of dishwashing soap and water to practice with. Apparently, its consistency is similar to milk. I found this replacement to be effective, minus the fact that there are obviously more bubbles in this concoction. For two shifts, I did nothing else but this. I was awfully frustrated because if it wasn’t the consistency that was incorrect, it was the temperature. When my ‘dishwashing soap and water’ mixture appeared to be more than satisfactory, my manager finally allowed me to practise with milk. It was much easier to deal with although each trial remained inconsistent.
Frustration inevitably reached its peak and on top of that, I was required to immediately work alone under the circumstance that my manager was booked for days off. At this time, my inability to produce or deliver what was required, accompanied with an increasingly declining confidence left me in panic and chaos: from mixing up orders to creating iced chocolate Americanos (they were supposed to be mochas… don’t even ask).
But those days are now scarce after a lot of practise and a heaven sent ‘How To Latte Art‘ post I found online! It is imperative that you have at least tried to make microfoam otherwise, these words will mean very little.
After reading this article, it has helped me tremendously in understanding my past mistakes. I immediately applied the techniques and knowledge read and just recently, I have become more consistent with my microfoam. However, as briefly mentioned in this article, one does not work with only one kind of milk. As 3.25%, 1% and soy milk all differ in the amount of ‘fats’, the main factor in the composition of microfoam, technique therefore differs for each as well. Thus far, I’ve more or less achieved consistent results when working with 3.25% and 1% milk, leaving me to struggle with soy milk (as pictured above). I’m still due for more practise.
Tamping espresso is quite easy. My manager taught me a proper technique: to face sideways and with my arm forming a 90 degree angle with the surface. If that makes sense. It is (I believe) quite obvious that the coffee grounds must be evenly distributed into the portafilter for an ‘even’ taste (minus the fact whether the coffee was dialed in correctly… but that’s another story).
Anyways, I hope you found this post informative and helpful. I just wanted to share my current knowledge and resources on coffee and latte art. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!
A plus tard et avec l’amour!