What should I say. I wrote about latte art many times, and gonna write one more now, and probably it will not be the last one.
I can see two tendencies at the moment.
The one can be called “I do black coffee well, and that what matters, and working with milk is for the pussies. Those swans and tulips – is for the weak ones, I am a serious type of person, I don’t mess up with coffee adding milk in there!”
I mean… Really?
Usually you can see how my face changes when I hear that type of comments. Especially from the coffee professionals (those people who are professionally trained, certified and they work in coffee for money).
These sort of comments about latte art, I can accept them if I hear them coming from the coffee geeks. Usually coffee geeks have no experience working with milk, have no necessary equipment at home, haven’t worked as a barista and only have an access for the filter coffee – so you can understand why they can neglect latte art. As something they never dedicated their time to, or as something they were never required to be doing well (the opposite of the barista, who should have latte art skills).
So it’s pretty common to hear from the geeks that “latte art doesn’t matter”. Funny enough, it does when it’s necessary to create instagram content, but that’s another story…
Relationships between coffee professionals and latte art are much more strange.
I mean, you are not required to love it. Or hate it. Or have any sort of emotions about it at all. As with any other necessary skill, that is required from any type of the professional – you just need to know how to do it, at a certain level. That’s it. It means – to create a well textured foam for every type of milk drink, achieve necessary temperature, and make a well centered and defined pattern. A heart, a tulip, a swan, a rosetta – it’s your choice. It can be complex or simple – as long as it is well-textured and nicely poured, it is well done.
We are not required to love pouring it, as we are not asked to adore any type of brews, have preferences, anything – but here comes the huge difference between a coffee geek and a coffee professional. Coffee professionals shouldn’t put their preferences first, their likings, their “good coffee/bad coffee” judgements. We must rely on the knowledge, techniques and all sorts of skills first – and leave our preferences for the time when we are off the service.
And all this is fair for the latte art as well.
Because, when it is not taken to the extreme and put first (the position “latte art is what sells!”), pouring nice patterns on our guests cappuccino is simply the gesture of care and love. You are creating beauty, tasty beauty, something that is visually perfect and heart-warming, and makes the morning of somebody better, both by how it tastes and looks.
Isn’t it beautiful?
I think it is.
It is simply a chance to serve perfection, and we shouldn’t neglect it.
And about learning how to do it…
I get many requests for the latte art workshops, and that’s what I noticed. People expect to be taught latte art without practicing it daily, just by looking as somebody else is making it in front of you. It doesn’t work this way.
Although an experienced trainer can break up every pattern and explain how to make them, how to hold the pitcher for the different pours, etc – you will not leave the master class doing them perfectly. You’ll have to teach your hands to do what your head already understands. Learning latte art is a process of patience and perseverance, you have to buy milk, you have to train, the skill doesn’t appear from nothing, you have to work for it.