Today It’s time to kick-off with the “Latte Art” section. I start with a question.
Does latte art really matter?
It’s not precisely define who invented latte art and when he/she did it. There were two guys that were practicing latte art around 1980s and 1990s: David Schomer, owner of Espresso Vivace coffee shop in Seattle along with Luigi Lupi, a passionate educator of the coffee industry.
In U.S. Schomer started pouring heart in the cup in 1989 while in 1992 he made rosetta pattern. From then on, it became a worldwide trend and nowadays when we enter in a coffee shop we see baristas pouring ten swans in an eight ounces cup or a fire-breathing dragon. So, does this really matter? Do we really need that?
Let’s step back for a moment and focus on the basic.
Latte art is simply the art of steaming milk in a way that allow us to pour a good pattern over a shot of coffee.
It sounds and looks easy but it’s not. It takes many weeks to start pouring decent pattern and it takes months to become able to draw with the ideal micro foam texture. And even after years you can still upgrade your skills.
It’s the trickiest thing to manage for a beginner barista; it’s frustrating and it requires dedication and a lot of patience as well. There are plenty of classes out there showing us different techniques of how to pour properly and there are also books to read all about it, but the only way to master it is to keep practicing.
Now let’s go back to the question. Does latte art really matter? This is a crucial point and it was like that for me as well. When starting as a barista there are no other things that can get your attention better than a skilled barista drawing an amazing pattern. Because we all know, first impression count for a lot.
The risk is exactly that, focussing in latte art and forget that there is a whole world with different aspects to deal with. When you start getting seriously about coffee, you understand that consistency is the key for every kind of things you do behind a bar. You realise that achieve consistency in pulling shots is the priority, dial-in new recipes, understand how the coffee machine and the grinder works.
Don’t’ get me wrong, I’m the one that love being served with a beautiful flat white.
Unfortunately, there are too many baristas out there that think they know everything simply because they are great at latte art but they don’t’ know anything about the complexity of coffee itself.
I always say to me and my teammate “taste is always more important than how the beverage looks”.
So, about the question. Yes, latte art definitely matters.
In the time of social media latte art has become truly important: every day there are millions of latte art posts. So, this is an important way to communicate your business; if you impress your customer with your latte art you have more chances to sell your products and to be shared on the socials. Sharing creates other sharing.
Another important factor we need to consider is that latte art influences how much a customer is willing to pay for a coffee. Loads of studies confirm that latte art increases the way of how a customer perceive the value of what he/she drinks.
So, even if it is just a lovely heart or a simple tulip, try to impress your customer. You’re going to leave him/her with a smile.