Iorio's Gelato Blog

The History and Mystery of Latte Art

There’s no denying it -- there is something about latte art that makes sipping your favorite latte or cappuccino that much more satisfying. The design that the barista creates, much like a fingerprint or snowflake, is unique to that espresso drink. Skilled baristas make this art form look almost effortless, but how does it really work? And where did it come from? This week we have a list of fun facts to help demystify this increasingly popular way of serving lattes and cappuccinos.

An example of the free pouring method for a rosette design

An example of the free pouring method for a rosette design

  • Owner of Seattle’s Espresso Vivace coffee shop, David Schomer, is credited for popularizing latte art in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

  • Schomer first perfected the heart pattern in 1989, followed by the rosette pattern in 1992.

  • Latte art is created by combining crema (the light colored foam on the top of an espresso shot) with the microfoam from steamed milk.

  • There are two main methods for creating latte art: Free pouring and etching.

  • Free pouring involves moving the pitcher of steamed milk while pouring to create a design.

  • Etching involves using a thin tool to pull the crema and foam after the milk has been poured.

  • Free pouring is the most common way of creating latte art (i.e., the heart or rosette).

  • Today, the practice has become so widespread, that many baristas participate in international latte art competitions.

An example of the etching method using chocolate sauce.

An example of the etching method using chocolate sauce.

So the next time the barista calls your name to pick up your latte or cappuccino, you can be a little less mystified, a little more informed, and still totally impressed.by the finished product!