Latte Art

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The Basics

LA 1.04 – Recap and Glossary


  • We use steam to heat milk because we get a payload of extra energy from the latent heat of condensation. We can steam milk to temperature in under 20 seconds, whereas it would take minutes to do so on an induction hob (hot plate).
  • Steaming milk dilutes it by a significant proportion. Refer to the Cowculator Mark II to maintain certain specifications for beverage strength.
  • Milk pitchers almost universally lacked alignment and symmetry of the spout and handle — until the Barista Hustle milk pitcher arrived on the scene.
  • There are five principal milk pitcher grips. Your grip on the milk pitcher should be refined and practiced to give you control and dexterity.
  • When planning and assessing latte art, plotting north–south and east–west axes can help you internalise a design more quickly.



Axial alignment  The arrangement of parts appending a cylinder which are collinear

Descaling  The process of dissolving mineral deposits that involves the application of a solvent — usually a strong acid

Drawing height  A position of the milk pitcher which brings the spout within one centimetre of the surface of a beverage. Only at this close range is it possible to achieve clearly delineated milk foam patterns.

Ergonomics  A type of human engineering wherein movements and the arrangement of tools are examined for efficiency and ease of movement

Morrissey hold  A cup handle grip where the palm faces upwards. This has the effect of bringing the elbow in towards the torso and can reduce unwanted shaking and tension, particularly if the barista is nervous.

Purge  The important health and safety practice of expelling spent milk and condensation from the inside of the steam wand immediately before and after steaming

Shaking  A milk pitcher manoeuvre involving an oscillating movement of around 1 cm; used in the first half of a rosetta design

Syphoning  The conveyance of a liquid through a tube, where it initially travels upwards;