The secret to making great latte art

The secret to making great latte art


Good latte art makes a huge difference to your coffee experience. If you’ve tried making coffee with latte art, you’ll know how hard it is — especially with all the different milk options that your customers might want. Luckily, there’s clear science between good and mediocre latte art.

In this blog post, we’ll cover the secrets to making great coffee with latte art, regardless of the milk you use, and the common mistakes to avoid.

Latte art basic ingredients

You have to use good quality ingredients to make great latte art. 

The coffee

Speciality coffee beans: You need quality espresso to make a good latte. While you want to impress with your art, the taste of the coffee matters more. So choose a good speciality coffee for making the espresso.

The coffee machine: To make the espresso for a latte, you’ll need to set your professional coffee machine to the optimal temperature and pressure to balance the acidity and bitterness with the milk for lattes.

The milk

The secret to amazing latte art is the microfoam – the textured milk added to the espresso. Creating microfoam requires good-quality milk, professional equipment, and skill.

Cow’s milk: You’ll need good foamable milk. Frothability and stability — that’s how long the air bubbles stay — are all about the milk’s protein levels. Also, a higher fat content might reduce foam stability. Air bubbles in foamed whole milk tend to break more easily. 

Research shows to create the most stable foam, pasteurised milk works best. Choose fresh semi-skimmed milk and avoid UHT. Another secret trick some cafes use is adding extra skimmed milk powder to boost the milk’s protein levels. 

We recommend Jersey cow’s milk to get the best taste from our wholesale coffee bean. 

Non-dairy milk: For non-dairy milk, always buy barista-style oat and soya milk to ensure the perfect microfoam. Other non-dairy milks like coconut milk might be harder to work with. This is because the barista-style oat and soya have added oils which re creates that fat content you’d naturally find in cow’s milk. 

The equipment

The milk frother: A professional milk steamer is crucial for the milk foam needed for latte art. Microfoam is hard to achieve with at-home milk frothers. It’s worth investing in a quality milk frother for your small business whether you’re solely serving coffee or serving it as part of your hospitality. 

The milk pitcher: Most people don’t realise how important a good spout is but, this is make or break for your latte art.

Biggest latte art technique mistakes to avoid


  • Pouring the milk too fast will cause the foam to come out too early. Take your time to ensure you pour the milk into the coffee first, followed by the foam last.
  • Pouring the milk too slowly. You need plenty of practice with milk-pouring speed. If you spend too much time pouring the milk, the air bubbles will disappear, and the milk will separate. You can’t make good latte art without aerated milk.
  • Holding the pitcher too high wiill cause the air to leave and the milk to plunge into the coffee below the crema.
  • Holding the pitcher too close and the milk foam will rest on top of the crema rather than mixing with it to create latte art.
  • Overheating the milk will ruin your microfoam. The optimal temperature for milk frothing is 50-60 degrees Celsius. Remember how important the protein is to your microfoam? Heating the milk above 60 degrees breaks down the milk proteins — a process called denaturing — weakening the foam. Use a thermometer to make sure the milk is rapidly heated but not overheated. 
  • Heating the milk too slowly. You create good latte art at speed. You need to heat the milk rapidly to create the perfect structure for air bubbles before the milk proteins denature. Pour soon after heating before the milk cools too much.
  • Not using cold milk: The milk should be fridge-cold to create the best foam. Room-temperature milk will not create stable microfoam.

3 Steps to make coffee with latte art

Step 1: Make the espresso

Set your professional coffee machine to the correct temperature and pressure for making espresso. While the coffee is pouring, foam the milk. The espresso shouldn’t sit for too long before pouring the latte because that fresh crema is crucial for your latte art.

Step 2: Heat the milk

Pour cold milk straight from the fridge into a stainless steel pitcher. Place the steam wand at the bottom of the pitcher and turn on the steam full-pelt. Slowly lower the pitcher so the steam wand is about 1 cm below the milk’s surface.

Use a thermometer to check that the milk doesn’t heat above 60 degrees as the milk proteins will start to breakdown, making latte art much harder. 

After shutting off the wand, swirl the milk until it’s shiny. The perfect microfoam will be smooth and shiny without large bubbles. It should look like melted marshmallows or thick, gooey paint.

Step 3: Pour

Pour the milk directly after foaming so you don’t lose air bubbles before creating your latte masterpiece.

Hold the pitcher slightly above the rim of the cup and pour quickly. This encourages the less-aerated milk at the bottom of the pitcher into the espresso first, followed by the foam into the crema. At this final stage, you’ll need to introduce the movements to create the desired latte art.

3 Simple latte art patterns to try

Here are the latte art patterns we recommend starting with and, you can find plenty of instructional videos on YouTube and TikTok.  Remember, this takes a lot of practice. If you want to master the skill then you’ll need to make a lot of coffee. 

 The heart

@latteartguide How to pour a latte art heart 🫶#latteart #coffee #coffeetok #lattearttutorial #heart #love #coffeeart #baristalife ♬ Narcos - Main Theme - Geek Music


The leaf (slowsetta)

@barista_wanchak Latte art tutorial - Slowsetta / slowleaf. #latteart #fyp #tiktok #trending #trending #kopi #barista ♬ Astronaut In The Ocean - Masked Wolf

The flower (tulip)

@amancoffee how to pour a basic 4 stack tulip 🌷 (latte art) #howto #tutorial #lattearttutorial #practice #teach #latteart #coffee #barista #coffeelover #espresso #cafe #coffeeholic #baristalife #cappuccino #coffeegram #melbourne #melbournecafe #fyp #viral ♬ Showw the Worlddd - ABAH IMY


The secret to making great latte art

Making great coffee with latte art requires skill, professional equipment, and – most importantly – the best-quality coffee and milk. 

Never skimp on ingredients when it comes to latte art. We recommend choosing speciality coffee beans grown and roasted with cafe espresso in mind. Always go fresh and pasteurised for your milk, and ensure it’s kept cold. 

Barista-style plant milk is important to have in stock, or you’ll risk losing potential vegan and lactose-intolerant customers. Oh, and remember to practice your plant milk latte art as it might be slightly different to using cow’s milk.

Find out more about our wholesale coffee here. 

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