If you have ever been to Jaho Coffee and Tea you have probably seen them, the ghosts of hearts and leaves woven in with your espresso and steamed milk. While beautiful to look at you might never guess the following that these floating designs have, that all over the country there are competitions where the best design could win $5,000 or a variety of other prizes. In fact, Jaho’s own Anil Mezini will be headed to Coffee Fest in Chicago this month to wow the windy city with his latte skills.
Latte art is created by moving the milk pitcher a certain way while pouring into espresso; the milk foam rises to the top of the cup creating the contrast that allows patterns to form. To create latte art requires certain expertise and training with espresso. If the espresso is pulled correctly and the milk is steamed properly latte art isn’t too hard to accomplish; so training is really important for knowing temperatures, technique and the proper way to adjust the grind of the espresso beans. Even after all that, every barista will tell you that there is nothing like a busy day behind the bar to get some serious designs going. Practice is definitely a major component in creating anything that will win a competition.
So what are the criteria for such a contest? Only 40 contestants make it in to this particular competition, so first off you have to apply to compete, by submitting an application explaining your qualifications and photographs of your work. Once you have been accepted, the criteria for winning are beauty and balance, color infusion, definition, and creativity. Basically, good latte art is distinctly white against golden brown crema (the foam on espresso) and has good symmetry; there are some great examples on our website.
Maybe art is the last thing you thought you would see in your latte, but latte art is a great touch and a good way to show our customers that we prepare each drink especially for them. Everyone enjoys an attractive cup of coffee and we enjoy competing amongst ourselves and coming up with new designs; though the rewards are mostly personal satisfaction, which is somewhat less than $5,000.