Beautiful latte art depends on the espresso and steamed milk being made properly, says Abagael Cornelison, the shop manager and latte art trainer at Fretboard Coffee.
To make a beautiful seven-tiered tulip latte, she first “dials in,” or grinds and tamps, the espresso. When she pulls the shot, she says she needs to make sure it has a layer of golden crema, a foam that forms as a result of the extraction of the espresso shot. This layer is where she’ll do the latte art. Once she steams her milk, she taps the pitcher on the counter to get rid of any large bubbles, so the milk foam is thick enough to make the designs.
Holding the mug of espresso slightly angled toward the pitcher of milk, she pours seven separate “blobs” of milk. “The seven layers of the tulip are a succession of layers of foam,” she says. After the final pour, with the milk still slowly flowing, she pulls the stream across the mug with a flourish.