Coffee/ Latte Art 101

*I am no expert, far from it, so this is mainly intended for those who know very little or close to none about coffee*

tumblr_n8medk0dpF1qb8pobo1_500

The best of my latte art thus far

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.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Proper technique for tamping espresso

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).

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The baby: La Marzocco ❤

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!

My Life as a Barista!

Since the 9th grade, I looked for a job every summer to finance my own expenses (all right, desires). However, I’ve always found my past jobs boring and uninteresting until now. Since the end of May, I’ve been working as a barista in a local shop here in NW Calgary called Postino. I absolutely adore this job! I get to interact with regular customers, meet the occasional eye-candy (ehmm Australian backpacker) and have fun with it!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Pretending to be busy 😛

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

“Was that to stay or to go?”

Starting out without prior experience as a barista was not easy. I cannot tell you how much frustration I had to go through, especially with trying to get the perfect microfoam. Believe it or not, it’s been months and I am still working on trying to remain consistent with my methods. Though in the end, it’s all worth it when I see even the simplest latte art of its kind, the heart. I will be writing a post on Coffee/ Latte Art 101 so stay tuned for that!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Tamping espresso

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Latte art is difficult and requires concentration

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

“I can do it!”

I have always been a fan of coffee though this only intensified when I became a barista. My knowledge has improved tremendously and so has my ego in terms of coffee. Visiting another coffee shop with me would probably not be in your best interest because I have become very watchful and judgmental of everything: from the sound of the milk frothing to tampering techniques of the barista. You could say that I could probably guess the taste of the coffee prior to even having my tongue touch it. Also, be prepared to be bombarded with random coffee facts and techniques.

As well, I can no longer drink instant coffee nor brew coffee, unless absolutely necessary. Fresh espresso tastes so much better so an Americano, I am now aware, differs from brew. And that folks is why it’s more expensive.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Coffee ❤

 I hoped you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoy my job! I love being artistic with what I do and I get free coffee doing it too 😉

A plus tard et avec l’amour!