Latté Art and the Coffee Canvas

As if it was not enough that coffee lovers drooled over the brew, baristas had to up the game. Some brilliant mind decided to turn the pick-me-up espresso into a canvas! The Barista pulled out some steaming hot, foamy milk and created swirls that made the average Latté look like something Mary Poppins pulled out of her handbag! And today, Latté art occupies a sizable portion of social media. The intricate designs are extremely photogenic.   

In this blog, let us explore the origin story of Latté art and trace its journey to today.  

What is Latté Art?  

Latté art is a fun and creative way to make coffee look extra special. When you order a Latté, which is a type of coffee with milk, the barista may use steamed milk to draw pretty pictures or patterns on top of the drink. 

Finally, they pour the milk carefully over the coffee in specific ways to create designs like hearts, leaves, or even cute animals. It is like drawing with milk on your coffee!  

We think Latté Art is great because: 

It Gives Positive vibes 

Latté art makes your coffee not only taste good but also look amazing. It is like a little surprise that makes your day better and your coffee more enjoyable. 

It Makes You Feel Special 

Latté art is interesting and fun because it turns a regular cup of coffee into a beautiful and special treat. Imagine going to a café and seeing your coffee with a pretty heart or a cute design on top! 

It Shows Creativity 

What makes it even more exciting is that each Latté art is unique. Baristas use their creativity and skills to draw different patterns every time. You might get a different design every time you order a Latté! 

It Makes You Smile 

Latté art also adds a touch of joy to your day. When you see the art on your coffee, it brings a smile to your face and makes you feel happy. 

What is the origin of Latté Art?   

Latté art is a way to make coffee look beautiful. It started in Italy in the 1980s, but it became popular in the United States in the 1990s. David Schomer popularised Latté art in the United States. He is the co-owner of Espresso Vivace in Seattle. He tried different milk texturing techniques until he perfected the heart-shaped Rosetta pattern.   

To get Latté art you pour steamed milk into a shot of espresso. Firstly, the milk is steamed to create microfoam, which is a light and airy foam. Next, the barista then pours the milk into the espresso in a specific way to create the desired pattern. 

There are many different Latté art patterns, but some of the most common ones are hearts, tulips, and roses. Latté art is a fun and creative way to enjoy coffee. It is also a way to show your barista's skills. In fact, it is a competitive art form, and there are even Latté art competitions around the world. 

How To Create Latté Art  

Creating Latté art takes practice and patience. Here is a step-by-step guide to get you started: 

Step 1: Brew the Coffee 

First, start by brewing a shot of espresso or making a strong cup of coffee. You can use an espresso machine or a coffee maker for this. 

Step 2: Steam the Milk 

Second, heat the milk in a small pitcher using a milk steamer or frother. Hold the pitcher at an angle and position the steam wand just below the surface of the milk. As the milk steams, it will create froth and texture. 

[A steam wand is a long, thin metal tube found on the side of an espresso machine. It has a small hole at the end that releases steam. When you insert the steam wand into the milk, the steam heats the milk and creates microfoam. This light and airy foam gives Latté art its distinctive look. If you do not have an espresso machine and a steam wand, a frother will work as well.]   

Step 3: Texture the Milk 

Thirdly, gently swirl the milk pitcher to distribute the foam evenly. The ideal texture for Latté art is glossy and smooth microfoam, which means tiny bubbles in the milk. 

Step 4: Pour the Milk 

Next, hold the coffee cup at an angle and start pouring the milk slowly into the centre of the espresso. As the cup fills, gradually raise the pitcher and create patterns or designs. 

Image of a Barista in the process of pouring milk into the coffee for the art

Step 5: Create the Design 

To make a heart, move the pitcher side to side while pouring, then pull a line through the centre. For a leaf, start by pouring in the middle and draw the shape of a leaf as you move the pitcher. 

Step 6: Finish the Art 

Once your design is complete, gently tap the bottom of the cup to settle the foam. You can use a toothpick or a Latté art tool to adjust the design if needed. 

Step 7: Enjoy! 

Finally, you now have your Latté with beautiful Latté art. Savor the moment and enjoy your delicious and artsy coffee creation! 

In case you are thinking of giving Latté art a try, remember it takes practice. Do not get discouraged if your first few attempts do not turn out perfect. Keep practising, and you will improve over time.  

Factors that Impact Latté Art 

Furthermore, there are a few important things that can affect how well your Latté art turns out. 

Choice of Milk 

The type of milk that is best for Latté art is whole milk. Whole milk has a higher fat content, which helps create the smooth and creamy texture required for Latté art. The fat in the milk helps stabilise the microfoam and allows baristas to create intricate designs with ease. While whole milk is the most common choice, other milk alternatives such as soy milk, almond milk, or oat milk can also be used for Latté art. 

Milk Texture & Temperature

Did you know? The way you steam the milk affects the texture. For good Latté art, you need smooth and creamy milk with tiny bubbles (microfoam).  The milk should be just the right temperature - not too hot or cold. This helps the froth settle and keeps the design intact. If you over-steam the milk, it will be too hot and will make your Latté art look blurry. On the other hand, if you under-steam the milk, it will be too cold and will not be able to hold its shape. 

Pouring Technique 

How you pour the milk into the coffee matters. Slow and steady pouring helps create clear and beautiful designs. Moreover, if you pour the milk too quickly, it will mix with the coffee and your Latté art will not be as visible. 

Coffee Quality 

Even the type and quality of the coffee you use can affect the colour and taste of your Latté art. If you use a superior quality coffee, your Latté art will have a richer flavour and colour. Experienced baristas always recommend using freshly ground coffee.  

Barista Skills 

Latté art takes practice and skill. Experienced baristas can make more intricate designs. If you are just starting out, start with simple designs and work your way up to more complex ones. 


Firstly, a good coffee machine and milk steamer help in creating better Latté art. If you have a superior-quality machine, it will be easier to steam the milk to the right temperature and texture. 

Next, you need to use the right milk pitcher to pour milk for Latté art. The design of these pitchers helps create the right texture of milk for frothing and pouring. 

Milk pitchers usually have a pointed spout that allows baristas to control the flow of milk. The pointy spout helps with precision for intricate designs. To add, the shape of the pitcher and the size of the spout contribute to better control and consistency in the art. 

Patience and Practice 

Creating perfect Latté art takes time and practice. Keep trying, and you will get better over time. 

Stencils to Enhance Latté Art  

Baristas and coffee lovers use stencils to create detailed Latté art. These designs might be difficult to make freehand. Stencils increase design options and enhance visual appeal.  

Using stencils for Latté art is not cheating. In fact, it is a fun and creative way to enhance the presentation of your drink. Latté art, whether created freehand or with the help of stencils, is all about adding a personal touch. It exists to make the coffee experience more enjoyable. 

Stencils are thin, flat sheets with cut-out patterns or shapes that you can use to create Latté art. Here is how to use them: 

#1 Prepare the Latté.  

Firstly, brew a shot of espresso and steam the milk to create the desired texture. Pour the steamed milk into a cup of espresso to make a Latté. 

#2 Position the stencil.  

Secondly, carefully place the stencil on top of the Latté; centre it and keep it on the cup. 

#3 Sprinkle the topping.  

Next, using a fine mesh shaker or a small sifter to sprinkle powdered toppings over the stencil. Commonly used toppings are cocoa or cinnamon powder. The cut-out shapes in the stencil will guide the powder to create the desired design. 

Sprinkling coffee powder through a premade stencil to make art
Picture credit:

#4 Remove the stencil.  

After that, gently lift the stencil straight up and away from the Latté. Be careful not to shake or move the stencil, as it may smudge the design. 

#5 Enjoy the Latté art!  

Finally, your Latté now has a beautiful design on top. Savour your Latté and admire the intricate pattern created with the help of the stencil. 

Latté Art & Good Business 

Latté art can be a fantastic way to improve a coffee shop's business. Here are some ways in which Latté art can help: 

Improves customer experience:  

Latté art makes coffee look more beautiful and appealing to customers. This makes customers more satisfied with their drinks. Hence, the chances of them coming back are high. 

Social media buzz:  

People love sharing photos of beautiful things on social media. Great Latté art gets clicked and shared. Moreover, people will talk about your business on social media. This attracts new customers.


Latté art can help your coffee shop stand out. You can have signature patterns. It shows that your business cares about the quality and presentation of its coffee.  

Brand image and reputation:  

Latté art shows that your business is attentive to detail. Customers will get the feeling your baristas are highly trained. This improves your brand image and reputation. 

Upselling opportunities:  

Latté art can encourage customers to try other specialty coffee drinks or add-ons. This can increase the average amount of money that customers spend at your business. 

Barista skills and training:  

Latté art can motivate baristas to improve their skills and creativity. This can lead to a more engaged and dedicated team. 

Keep up the good fun! 

Do you run a coffee shop and want to give your customers a fun experience? Or do you simply want every cup of coffee to look as good as it tastes? Latté art is just the boost you need. With the right equipment and oodles of patience, you can create wonders in that little cup of joy!