Latte art technique

Something has been bugging me of late.  It is a little thing, but something I have yet to conquer so I thought I’d sort of ask for help.

Typically the rosettas I pour look like this:

On a really (really) good day they can look like this (courtesy of the awesome DwellTime)

Similar in style – though his is far nicer than mine.

But what I cannot pour are the really big, fat leaves like this (from Xavier Nunez):

Or the similar “big boned”, fat ass leaves from Tonx:

What I want, if not need, is video!  If you can pour fat leaves then please take a video, of any quality really, and stick a link in the comments here.  If there are videos online then I’d love to see them.  It really annoys me that I can’t do it so I have no choice but to turn to you good people for help!

[tags]latte art, rosetta, espresso, latte, cappuccino, barista, coffee [/tags]

12 Comments Latte art technique

  1. Barrett

    James! I’m shocked.
    Colter – a rare contributor on DT is working on a video project, and has taken video of a number of Artigianis doing what they do. I’ll post it when it’s done. Don’t hold your breath though – CBC is 3 days away, and he’s determined to win.

    Thanks for the shoutout.

  2. tj

    I would suggest, that once you start your side to side motion, pull back a little faster and don’t try to make as many leaves. That will leave a little more space between your individual leaves. (I think!!)

  3. Jason Haeger

    James, I started with the well-fed rosetta style, and have always admired your very slender, very symmetrical style.

    I have learned something from this, though.

    With your pouring style, you really wiggle that pitcher something fierce. Your jiggling motions are quick.. and sharp.

    I learned to pour art by slowing down the side-to-side motions a bit. Think of the milk in the pitcher as a sort of pendelum, and all you’re trying to do is keep it moving.

    Let the pendelum-like side-to-side movement of the milk inside the pitcher determine the side-to-side movement of the pitcher itself. The art will practically pour itself if you’ve got he pendelum thing going right, and the leaves will be fatter, and more pronounced.

    with DwellTimester’s art, it looks like his milk is stretched a bit less than yours, but with a very similar style in the pouring technique.

    Just my $.02 as someone who had to seriously work at it before learning to pour art.

  4. t o n x

    I think JH has it right. go slow and treat the tip of the pitcher like a graffiti marker and slowly drop the white fat and wide and zip it fast on the finishing stroke.

    also – I am seriously envying your header images of late. I really must update the look of my tired ol’ blog.

  5. conrad

    don’t forget to let a lot of milk fall out of the jug… it took me a while to figure that out. i’ve found that i used to just whip the pitcher back and forth, and it was the centripetal force that made the milk swing out. that’s how you get a bunch of skinny leaves. for the fat look, you still need the pendulum motion, but it’s very subtle. the fatness comes from the milk simply falling out of the pitcher and forcing the leaves below to expand.

    also, both mine and tonx’s pic were hot chocolates… maybe it’s just easier to make ’em fat cause of all the calories.

  6. bz

    late to this, james, but i do some pretty darn fat-leafed rosettas, and it’s only because i’m not any good. most of us envy the thin leaves you guys pull, and i would say that indeed, it’s about pouring slower.

    i simply start VERY slowly, creating less of a circulating flow in the cup, and lazily jiggering the pitcher across the top as opposed to twitching it fast and letting the liquid’s circulation churn the design for you.

    but you asked for video. and i would shoot a quick clip, except my machine is down AND my camera is … well, you already know.

  7. Nick Brown

    not much to offer here, but i just thought i’d point out, for fun, that i used to pour big, fat leaves until one day lindsay made fun of my style and i set out to make the skinniest, most finely textured leaves possible, and now i can’t seem to go back.

    incidentally, vis a vis conrad’s comment about both those images not being espresso, this is my most recent chai latte pour (old now, i realize…), and they’re way fatter than any of my espresso-based drinks:

  8. Trevor Hyam

    I’ve been teaching myself latte art for a year now and have only recently begun to really get the hang of it. Previously, my rosettas had tight, fine white segments, but did not open up to have those lovely dark centers with white tips like most of the ones you’ve pictured – and I was envious of people who could do that. Then a couple of months back, I tried a fairly radical change of my motion/technique, and all of a sudden I started to achieve those dark centers. About a week of honing the style, and I had it down (although I still really need to work on the symmetry, etc) …but the leaves were fat!!
    I really like the fat style, but am myself, in turn, envious of the finer style like in the (incredible) Dwelt’s picture. What I want to do now, of course, is know how to do both!
    In terms of advice, I’d echo what JH and some others have said – I changed to my fat style by using a slower, more pendular, snaking action, with quite a heavy pour so the flow of the milk actually helps to form the design – rather than the more rapid shaking action that makes finer lines.
    Then I tried to kind of reverse – and get back to the quicker shake and finer lines, whilst keeping the dark centers and snaking action – in an attempt to get rosettas like the Dwelt’s pic – and it’s kind of getting there, and oddly enough I seem to get that style more in take-out cups…?!
    Sadly though, all practice is now cut short as I am currently jobless, because I am in the process of relocating to Cardiff in the UK, and am searching for a good cafe – any offers?!

  9. Edmund Buston

    Hi Jim,

    I think Jason Haeger is on the right track for fat leaves, less wiggling of the jug in the centre of the cup and more moving it from left to right. I’ve been experimenting doing rosettas without using your wrist so you can only move your arm as a whole…. try it!

    Good luck in your heat in a couple of weeks, see you at the finals! Eddie.

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