In the morning, after your work area is set up and you’ve got fresh coffee oils running through the group heads and group handles, the next stop on your journey to serving magic coffees to your weary-eyed, caffeine deficient customers is the grinder.
In ancient Palaeolithic times, dating back over 10,000 years ago, bows and arrows were used in battles and hunting. The symbol is also affiliated with Apollo, the Greek god of archery (among other things), but my favourite reference is Dragon Ball, a famous Japanese cartoon character who posed with a bow and arrow.
Like many of my latte art ideas, I turned to Google for inspiration on different images that I could translate the cup, including Dragon Ball. I decided to create my own version of his famous stance but with an angel holding a bow and arrow instead.
I’m using a 35-gram shot, a 25-second extraction, and a 300-millilitre cup. In competition I would use a minimum 20-second extraction time. If you use any less than that you’ll be deducted four points.
It’s important in competition to be accurate, but this pattern also demands your attention and precision – in contrast, placement, and even the volume of milk you need. Too much milk and you’ll run out of room, too little and you’ll fall short.
The other key point is the milk-to-espresso ratio. If you use too much milk, you’ll throw the balance of the pattern out. It’s about practice and finding the right volume without a huge amount of waste.
The other challenge with this pattern is the many drag techniques you have to use. It’s time to perfect your straight lines.
I’m travelling to Brazil in November to compete in the World Latte Art Championship. It’s nearly time. I’ve been training hard and am ready to share my talent with the world. Hopefully next edition I’ll have some exciting news to share about my results, but for now, let’s perfect this angel design together and remind ourselves that latte art in a café environment is not just about visual appreciation, it’s also about delivering a tasty cup.
Shinsaku Fukayama’s Angel with bow and arrow
Build your base. To create the first wing, have the cup handle facing six o’clock. Pour a 15-leaf rosetta. Use a wiggle motion or S shape to create the leaves down the side of the cup. Pull up alongside the right hand side of the rosetta to the start position.
Rotate the cup slightly anticlockwise. To create the second wing, pour into the centre of the cup and make a six-leaf rosetta. Pull up on the right hand side of the rosetta.
With your cup handle facing three o’clock, aim your pour in the bottom left corner of the cup, about five o’clock. Pour a six-leaf rosetta across the cup from left to right. This will form the cloud for the angel to float on.
Rotate the cup handle to face six o’clock. To create the bow, aim your pour at one o’clock and make a half circle or reverse C shape. Then, pour a half curve or C shape that meets the first. Repeat the process underneath the first bow.
To form the body and legs of the angel, pour a triangular shape in the centre of the cup between the bows and wings and a line down the cup to create a leg.
Make a very small heart on the bow to create the arrow.
Above the angel’s body, draw a reverse L shape or two straight drag lines that will form the body of the angel and outstretched arm towards the bow.
Draw a halo above the body, a circle shape. Finally, add a dot in the centre above the body to form the head.