Coffee is a worldwide know beverage from Ethiopia. Drunk cold or hot, pure, with milk, liquor, or even as an ingredient for other drinks; there is a profession dedicate to its study, the barista. From the terroir, plantation, harvest, roasting of its beans, grinding and the methods of extraction of the coffee, everything influences in the achievement of the perfect cup. Two famous baristas, the American David Schomer and the Italian Luigi Lupi, spread around the world the latte art coffee.
The latte art developed in different countries independently, although it is believed to have started in Italy, with the introduction of the microfoam and the establishment of the espresso shot and its crema (emulsion of coffee oils and the brewed coffee, giving the aspect of foam in the cup as soon as it is extracted). David Schomer popularized the technique around 1980s in the United States, while at the same time, Luigi Lupi, in Italy, met Schomer’s work on the internet and they started exchanging videos about each other’s work on cappuccini decorati. Although Schomer credits the microfoam technique to Jack Kelly, in Seattle, he describes the latte art pitcher-shaking as quite standard in the world of Italian espresso preparation, indicating that it was well established in Italy by that time¹.
The latte art is a mixture of the coffee crema and milk microfoam, neither of them being stable, which means the design made on a cup will dissipate soon after it’s made. To make the design, first it is made the espresso shot, and the milk is turned into foam with the aid of a steamer. Then, milk is poured into the coffee cup already with the espresso and as the foam rises to the top, images can be created.
From its creation until now, the Latte Art has developed many different styles, being very popular in coffee shops around the world and having international competitions, such as the World Latte Art Championship². A very easy way to check the baristas work is through social medias, and here is a list of a few baristas worth following:
For more information, check Latte Art by Luigi Lupi, and Article Archives of Espresso Vivace.
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