Though it may look intimidating, latte art doesn’t need to be something you only get at a café. You too can make tulips, ferns, hearts and rosettas at home – without a baristas diploma.
Today we are going to take you through exactly how to make your very own latte art at home by using a Nespresso machine.
We’ll go what equipment you need, how to prepare your coffee, how to prepare the milk (both with and without the Nespresso milk frother), and how to pour the milk to create a wonderful design just like a pro barista.
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Table of Contents
The equipment you’ll need
The only equipment you’ll need to make latte art from the comfort of your own home are listed down below. If you have all these things, then you’re good to go!
- A coffee cup – preferably a tulip cup, or latte glass.
- A milk jug or pitcher (with a spout) – I use this one from Amazon which has the right size spout to have fine control over how much milk comes out.
- The Nespresso machine – All Nespresso machines make the same great coffee. The more expensive models will have an inbuilt steam want, the mid-tier models have a milk frother canister that sits off to the side.
- A French Press – If your Nespresso machine doesn’t have a frother attachment, then this is your best bet to make awesome milk foam at home. We are using this awesome one from Amazon because the glass body can go straight into the microwave!
- The Coffee capsules – Of course, what coffee you chose is completely up to you! I personally like to use the Cosi, but use 2 capsules for each cup to get a nice strong double shot.
- Full Fat Milk – You can make coffee from any milk or milk alternative. It is however much easy to get the right microfoam and consistency with a good full fat dairy milk.
- Chocolate Syrup or Cocoa Power – Optional to garnish.
Preparing the Coffee by Using the Nespresso Machine
To make Latte art you’re going to need to brew the right coffee for a flat white or latte. That means you need either a single or double espresso shot, with a nice crema and not too much water.
We recommend using two of the more mild and aromatic Nespresso capsules to get a nice strong double shot. I use the Cosi which has a low intensity rating of 4.
Each Nespresso machine has a slightly different procedure to prepare the coffee, so follow the instructions for the machine that you’re using.
Just as soon as the extraction process of the coffee is complete, the time has now come for you to prepare the milk.
Tip: Make sure you don’t press the button for a Lungo shot as this has too much water in it.
Preparing the Milk (with a Nespresso Milk Frother)
The high end Nespresso machines, like the Creatista have an inbuilt steam want. Using this will make perfect café style microfoam milk and it’s your best option for making latte art.
Lower end machines have a cheaper type of frother which is a black cylindrical canister. These make a pretty poor microfoam, but there are a few tricks to get something usable from these machines.
Option 1) Using a steam wand
The first thing that you want to do is to purge your wand to clear any water or coffee that might still be stuck inside the wand. Use the stainless steel milk jug provided and fill it about half way with full fat milk. and place it under the steam wand.
Submerge the tip of the wand right under the surface of the milk. You can start by holding the pitcher straight and then gradually angle it slightly to the left.
By doing this, just as soon as you turn on the milk frother, you should be able to see a whirlpool in your milk. Then, right after you turned the frother on, you should let a little bit of air to get into your milk. However, you will only need to do this for a few seconds as otherwise, you will end up having scorched milk.
Next, after you have left some amount of air inside your milk, sink the tip of your wand and allow it to whirlpool until it gets to the desired temperature. You will begin to hear a slight hissing sound and throughout the process, if you want to have an extra amount of froth, you can hold your pitcher and move it up and down a couple of times during the frothing process.
Again, purge the wand as there may be some buildup of milk and water at the tip of the wand that you don’t want to have inside your milk.
Finally, give your pitcher a couple of firm knocks against the countertop to purge any bubbles that may have formed on the surface of the milk. Swirl your pitcher around for some time to mixed all the foam that you have made and you should have glossy milk with some bubbles known as the microfoam.
You can also check out the video below on how to make perfect steamed milk.
Option 2) Using a stir heater
The stir heater is Nespresso milk frother solution for their lower price coffee machines. It consists of a black plastic canister with a heating element built into the bottom. A magnetic whisk attachment drops in and couples with a magnetic motor in the base of the machine. These machines Whisk the machine and stir at the same time, with a thermostat the shuts down the machine once the temperature reaches the optimal 65degrees Celsius.
To use. fill the canister as prescribed and turn it on with the lowest power setting. Using the fastest setting may seem like it will make more foam, but in reality creates a coarser foam with large air bubbles – not ideal for late art.
Once the milk is done (usually announced when the machine beeps) it’s time to homogenize the milk with the foam by transferring it back and forth between jugs a few times. Pour the milk from the frother into your pouring jug, and back again 3 or 4 times, with the milk finally ending up in the pouring jug. This acts to eliminate any stratification between the milk and the foam.
Now you’re read to pour!
Option 3) Preparing the Milk without a Nespresso Milk Frother
Don’t worry if your machine didn’t come with a milk frother attachment – there’s still plenty of tricks to make good microfoam milk at home – you just gotta work a little harder.
Step 1 – Heat the milk
Using a microwave or pot on the stove, heat the milk but be super careful not to burn it. I recommend using a milk thermometer (we use this one from Amazon) and stop as soon as you reach 65 degrees Celsius. This is the ideal temperature to start foaming your milk at.
If you’re using a microwave oven, then take it slow and only put it on for 30 seconds at a time. It’s easy to overshoot and burn the milk. Also make sure to give it a good stir between nukings.
Step 2 – French Press
Use a French press for its real purpose (no, not making coffee) but for frothing milk.
Fill about 1/3rd with milk to leave plenty of room for expansion. Then, with one hand on top of the lid to stop milk flying everywhere, work the plunger up and down as hard as you can for about 60 seconds.
The milk should double in size and have formed a homogenous microfoam. I actually think this makes a lot better foam than the Nespresso’s built in frother –but it is a lot more work!
How to Pour the Milk
When it comes to latte art, it can be easily done when you are using a round bowl-shaped cup. First thing first, you should pour your espresso into the coffee cup, and don’t forget to swirl it around for some time to incorporate your espresso well. The most important factors to consider when you are pouring the milk are the height at which you are pouring the milk from as well as the speed of the milk that is flowing into the coffee cup. You should always try to pour the milk at a slow rate evenly into the cup from a decent height. By doing this, you will be able to allow the espresso and the milk to be incorporated well. To make sure that your espresso and the milk mix well, be sure to pour the milk in a circular motion and this is why you will need to use a round coffee cup to get the best result.
It’s recommended for you to use three ounces of fresh cold milk for each cup and then steam it then
The trick to remember is that pouring milk from high up with cause the milk to flow to the bottom of the cup, and won’t leave a design on top of the coffee. Pouring from close to the cup with cause he milk to stay on the surface of the coffee and will leave a nice white mark. By varying this distance, you can effectively vary the size of your brush strokes!
How to Create Different Designs
Though there’s literally hundreds of different designs you can create, we recommend you start with the most common ones like the heart, rosetta, and tulip. There’s something to be said for simplicity, and once you’ve mastered these you can find your wings with more complex designs like the swan or double rosetta.
Pour the milk and start shaking the pitcher with your hands just as soon as the coffee cup is three-quarters full. After that, place the pitcher nearer to your coffee cup than before and stop shaking the pitcher. You should be able to see white circles on the surface of your coffee.
Now quickly raise the height of your pour slightly and pour the milk in one line from one side of the cup to the other via the center of the cup once the coffee cup is almost full. By now, you will have heart-shaped milk on your coffee.
Again, tilt your cup at a 45-degree angle before you start to pour in your milk. Pour the milk from a height and swill the cup to get the coffee to mix.
Position the pitcher closer to the coffee cup until it rests on the cup once the cup is three-quarters full. Pour in some milk and you should notice some foams formed on the surface once your pitcher started to touch the surface of the cup. From here, start to move the pitcher from one side of the cup to the other in a rocking motion.
Just as soon as you reach the end of the cup, be sure to pour less milk from now on. Then, lift your pitcher and move the stream of milk forward starting from the center of the cup.
Just like the other designs, be sure to tilt your cup at a 45-degree angle before you start to pour in your milk. Pour the milk from a height and swill the cup to get the coffee to mix.
Then, quickly lower the milk jug to the coffee cup and pour in a splash of milk to make a nice white round pattern. Pull the jug away again and reduce the pour speed.
Repeat the process three to five times until you start to notice that each white circle fits perfectly into one another. However, keep in mind that every time that you pour in the milk, gradually decrease the tilting angle until the last pour of milk.
Finally, pour the milk from one side of the cup to the other at high level to cut through the design, and you should have a nice tulip on your coffee.