Fine art is that in which the hand, the head, and the heart of man go together.
– John Ruskin –
When it comes to Latte Art, sight is the right sense to experience cappuccino. Latte Art is a decorating technique which has become an actual discipline taught in courses and workshops. On the one hand, it is a demonstration of the artistic skill of the barman; on the other, an expression of beauty and elegance which gets cappuccino to look more appetizing. Latte Art is performed all over the world, and sometimes this skill is even a requirement to get a job as a barista.
But what is actually needed to turn cappuccino into artwork? A firm hand, rapidity and dexterity are pivotal to make stunning patterns out of milk froth in the shortest time possible, as to make sure cappuccino is served still hot. A variety of patterns can be created, such as flowers, animals, hearts and many others which may even come from the barman imagination. However, it must be remembered that perfection takes time and practice – and most of all, creativity!
Obviously, skill and creativity alone are not enough. Excellent results require excellent cappuccino, that is to say perfect espresso coffee and milk froth. Milk cream needs to come as a soft, smooth and thick foam. To this aim, milk – preferably, fresh milk at fridge temperature – needs to meet the highest standards in terms of taste and potential creaminess. Taste depends on the fat level: the highest the content of fat, the more intense the taste of milk. On other hand, creaminess depends on the protein content: when milk is heated, proteins aggregate, thus producing a creamy layer.
Pouring milk also requires a specific technique. Skillful baristas know they have to focus on the tilt of the cup and pitcher to make sure that both are straight and there is a steady stream of milk. Milk is to be poured into the cup until it is about half filled. At this point, the pitcher needs to be shaken back and forth with a slow but steady wrist movement to create the desired pattern.
Here are the tools needed for Latte Art:
- different types and sizes of cups and spoons
- pitcher with a narrow spout
- different sizes of pitchers
- milk thermometer
- decorating set, dispenser, stencils, pens, wooden sticks, cocoa shaker
Here come the best shots of Giacomo Vannelli, Latte Artist who was awarded the title of Best Italian Barman for two years in a row, 2014 and 2015. His confectioner’s shop Pasticceria Vannelli in Cortona relies on Krupps dishwhashing machines. It cannot be sheer coincidence…