Australian Latte Art Champion 2016 Ben Morrow goes back to basics
Welcome to my first editorial contribution in BeanScene.
As the new Australian Latte Art Champion I’m excited to have the opportunity to share with you my knowledge and passion for latte art, which I’ve developed over many years. For my first editorial I’m going ‘back to basics’ so in later columns we can really start to explore how to create new and exciting latte art. The first thing we need to understand is how to correctly steam milk before we get into the heavy end of things.
Here are my three key pointers to perfectly steamed milk:
Always start with the same amount of milk. I usually steam for one person, which is 140 millimetres of milk or just under half full with a 300-millimetre pitcher.
From here we want to increase the volume with air by about 25 per cent, or one quarter. I like to think of steaming objectively.
Look at the outside of the pitcher. Break it into four sections. Now add one section on top. That’s how much bigger the volume needs to become.
There is a particular way we need to induce this air. If we put it all in at once or too close to the desired temperature it can be rough and bubbly when we serve it. I’m going to use a graph to explain this concept. Think of the Y axis as air induction and the X axis as the total time it takes before we get to our desired temperature – let’s make it 60°C.
Graph 1 demonstrates that heating milk too quickly at 2.5 seconds results in a rough texture.
Graph 2 heats the milk over a longer period of time at 3.5 seconds, which results in an OK texture.
Graph 3 heats the milk at 4.5 seconds, which results in a perfect texture.
And graph 4 indicates what happens when you inject air too close to the desired temperature (60°C). This will result in bubbles all through the milk, and it won’t be very pleasant to drink.
Let’s talk about how to get air in there.
When the steam wand tip is on the surface the volume of milk will increase in size.
If the tip is beneath the surface it will not increase in size.
You’ll also notice that when the pitcher induces air it will make a sound, kind of like when you try and pronounce “t” and “s” together. Give it a try. Tss tss tss.
Yep, that tells you the milk volume is increasing in size.
One last thing to remember is that we need the liquid to be spinning. This helps reduce the size of the bubbles we’re creating faster. It’s really simple to do and almost entirely has to do with the angle in which the steam tip is placed into the jug.
If you can do all the steps above you’ll achieve perfect texture every single time, and that’s my aim with the next few issues. Keep reading and we’ll make you into a latte art champion in no time. In future editions I’ll be exploring how to approach designing new latte art. Stay tuned.
This article features in the June 2016 edition of BeanScene Magazine. To view the full article, subscribe here today: www.beanscenemag.com.au/subscribe