Grip — Ergonomics
Holding the Cup 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.
An interesting innovation developed by 2008 WBC Champion Stephen Morrissey was to invert his cup hand, with his palm facing upwards. This brings the elbow of the hand holding the cup right into to your hip, which can reduce shaking. The Morrissey hold is particularly well suited to the L Grip, which we will explain shortly. If you have particularly large hands, you may find this grip useful for cups with tiny handles which you can’t fit your fingers inside.
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. 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’,