Latte Art

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The Basics

LA 1.02 – Getting a Grip

Holding the Cup by its Handle

Many technical latte art designs require continuous reorientation of the cup position. In these instances, holding only the bottom third of the cup is important for hygiene reasons. If your repertoire of patterns is simple and does not call for any reorientation of the cup position, hold the cup by the handle — this is the fastest route to delivering the cup to the saucer. When holding the bottom of the cup, you need to first put down your pitcher hand, transfer the cup into your other hand, and then put it down — an inefficient process.


The North–South Axis

By default, the handles of the cup and the pitcher should be oriented at 90° to each other. If you maintain this position while creating a basic symmetrical pattern such as a heart or a tulip, you’ll be able to serve your customers so they can view the design right side up. Latte artists see most classic designs upside-down as they pour them. Assuming they are serving the drink to someone who has the same dominant hand, when the drink is served, it will be orientated with the cup handle pointing towards the customer’s dominant hand.

As we discuss the positioning of patterns in the next chapters, please note: When we use the NSEW coordinates to draw your attention to certain parts of a pattern, we are using the customer’s perspective (not the barista’s perspective) to establish where north and south are. This means to the right-handed customer the handle will be in the ‘east’; it will be in the ‘west’ for the left-hander. When a barista is pouring, the milk pitcher handle should point due ‘north’. When we discuss pouring, the prevailing direction of flow for symmetrical designs will be towards the ‘south’.

To reinforce this, we have displayed our close-up videos from the customer’s perspective. South is at the bottom of the screen and the barista stands in the north, at the top of the screen.