Friends come to my home for a great latte. I’ve been a barista for nearly 18 years and learn everywhere I go. For a period of time, I worked part-time with Starbucks. During that experience, I saw a program on “latte art” and decided I was going to learn how to do that!
A regional VP was visiting and we talked about bringing that into Starbucks. I was sent to Portland for training with the American Barista and Coffee School (www.coffeebusiness.com). Back in Colorado, they opened the “Coffee Master” program to part-time staff and I was the first to sign up. Eventually, I trained district managers on how to make great milk. I had always had my own business and things changed at my store so I left to practice my trade at home. I’ve helped staff at many coffee shops and helped training staff at three shops in Malaysia and Indonesia.
I can walk into a coffee shop, hear how they are steaming the milk and know instantly whether or not to bother with a latte. I watch how staff prepare their shots, notice how long it takes for a shot to run and how long it sits before use to determine if there is a real barista behind the bar. And expresso shot generally takes around 25 seconds for at least 1.5 ounces of expresso. Once finished, it’s good for about 10 seconds before it starts taking on an extremely unpleasant and bitter flavor. Yikes!
I’ve helped many customers learn how to describe what they like and then written it down so they can order a drink they will like. Once milk gets heated much over 150°, the sweetness disappears and it taste burnt. I like less milk, 150° temperature and a double shot with creamy foam. And I’m not shy about telling people how I like my latte!
I’m working on a couple video and audio posts for this space. Check back and I’ll have them posted before long.
Here’s a document I put together on milk technique for latte art. Following that is a brief guide I put together for the Barista Pro Shop. Hopefully, they will be helpful to you?