'Coffee Art' book helps you pour like a pro
Want to impress your friends and relatives this holiday season? How about learning how to make intricate designs in your coffee.
Dhan Tamang, U.K. Latte Art Champion from 2013 to '16 and finalist in the 2016 world championship, has a new book out, "Coffee Art: Creative Coffee Designs for the Home Barista" (Casell, $12.99) with step-by-step instructions on how to get started, what equipment you need and how to create elaborate multi-colored designs.
The process starts with creating a base of coffee, milk and "creme," the velvety, chocolate-colored layer of espresso that naturally forms on top as the coffee poured.
1. Pour an espresso into any size of cup, holding the cup with the handle facing your body and tilted at 45 degrees
2. Pour steamed milk into the middle of the coffee, zig-zagging back and forth, from about 3 inches above the cup. The milk will go in and the crema will stay on the top.
3. As you pour, lower the jug closer until the cup is 2⁄3 full, then create your design as instructed.
Tamang starts with the easiest designs, like a heart, which involves pouring the steamed milk in a circle and then drawing a line of milk through the middle.
Some of his tips include supporting the forearm of your pouring hand with the other hand, moving your wrist rather than your whole arm, and taking a deep breath before you start to pour and letting it out slowly as you pour.
Below are a few more of Tamang's design instructions for coffee, milk and 3D creations.
Once you've mastered pouring a heart you can develop this into a tulip. The tulip is a basic but very pretty design and can itself be developed into more complex patterns.
1. Create your base in a coffee cup. When the cup is around two-thirds full, stop pouring.
2. Keeping the cup at an angle, pour foam into the center to create a small milk circle, then stop, drawing up slightly at the end to create a kind of heart shape.
3. Create another, slightly smaller, circle of milk above the first one, again bringing the jug up at the end to create the heart shape.
4. Pour a third, smaller, circle of milk above the second, but this time finish by lifting the jug and running the milk through the middle of all three circles to create your tulip.
Form a circle then start wiggling the jug left and right as your pour. When you near the edge of the cup, lift the jug to 1 inch away from the surface and draw a line of milk through the middle of the design.
This simple design looks much more challenging than it is. For the best contrast, use just milk without any coffee. This has the bonus of being suitable for children, who will love the colorful, mythical design.
1. Prepare three espresso cups of milk foam in white, blue and red, using food coloring and steamed milk only. Use a spoon to draw six horizontal lines of the red- and blue-colored milks (alternating each color) on the top of a jug of steamed milk.
2. Next, take a larger coffee cup and, with the handle facing away from you, fill the cup three-quarters full with uncolored steamed milk. Then, using your colored jug of steamed milk, create a basic rosetta off-center in the cup to make the neck of the unicorn — the milk will pour in a colored pattern.
3. When you reach the bottom of the cup, drag up to form a line at the edge of the neck, instead of pouring through the centre of the rosetta. Pour another smaller rosetta going off at an angle from the neck to create the head.
4. Dip an etching tool into one of the colors and zigzag a line to create the horn at the top of the head. Repeat with the other color to create a spiral effect.
5. Use the etching tool to give the unicorn some stray hair by pulling color from the top of its head. Add a blob of white milk foam for the eye and outline this with a single color. Blob a contrasting color in the centre to create the pupil.
6. Dip the etching tool into the white foam and give the unicorn a mouth. Add a blob of milk foam to the nose for a nostril. Finally, add an ear at the top of the head to complete the image.
Babyccinos are just frothed milk in an espresso cup — perfect for kids accompanying their parents to the coffee shop. This babyccino also can be made bigger on a cup of coffee, but it's more striking and lasts longer on milk and is easier to get the height in a small cup as you don't need so much foam.
1. Fill an espresso cup with steamed milk that is no hotter than 122°F, so it is cool enough for a child to drink. Froth some milk (it must be frothed and not just steamed), pour some of the milk foam into an espresso cup and add a little red food coloring to make pink-colored foam.
2. Tap the first cup on the work surface to level the surface of the milk and then sprinkle a layer of chocolate powder on top of the foam to create the foundation for the 3D design.
3. Use two spoons of different sizes (a teaspoon and dessert spoon, for example) to create a "quenelle" of foam by scraping the foam from one spoon to another. Don't be afraid of "overworking" the foam as it will create a better, more malleable consistency.
4. Place a large blob of the stiff foam in the center of the cup to make the head of the pig. You will probably need at least one more spoonful placed directly on top to create a good height.
5. Place two smaller blobs of foam at the top of the "head"' for the ears, drawing the spoon upward to create the point of the ears. Add a smaller blob to create the nose and two more tiny blobs for the trotters.
6. Use an etching tool to paint the pink milk onto the nose, eyes, ears and trotters.
7. Pick up some of the chocolatey foam from the edge of the cup with the etching tool and paint the eyes and nostrils.