Latte Art

Latte Art


In this module we will be teaching you the skills and technique involved in pour excellent latte art. We’re going to break down each component crucial to achieving great designs.


The 3 P's of Latte Art

Latte art Basics

The initial pour

The initial pour is crucial to achieving contrast. Contrast is going to be the difference between the brown of the coffee, and the white of the milk. For the initial pour we will tilt the cup to create a deeper reservoir of espresso, and pour our milk into the deepest part of that reservoir. A confident pour into the espresso will cause the milk to pour under the crema and allow you to achieve great contrast.

Pull up & Fill up

The Pull up & Fill up is the next step, and also crucial to achieving great contrast. Pulling our pitcher away from the cup will thin out the stream of milk, again, allowing the milk to pour under the espresso. When we want to begin drawing our designs we will want to be able to put the tip of out milk pitcher as close as we can to the top of the espresso, so it is crucial that we allow our cup to fill up enough before we begin drawing.

dive in

The dive in is where we begin drawing. The key to great latte art is to be intentional with all of our movements. We can’t go through the motions and just hope for something to happen, we have to be deliberate. Once our cup is full enough that we can get as close as possible to the top of the espresso we can begin our drawing. When we are ready to begin drawing we will dive in and begin our drawing immediately.

It’s important to understand that the barista’s back and forth “wiggle” motions, or swings of the pitcher, do not represent changes in position.

Changes in position will come in more advanced latte art pours. Forward always mean toward the open end of the pitcher, while backwards always means toward the bottom of the milk pitcher.

Pull up and Strike through

Once our drawing is complete we are ready for the final step. First we will pull our pitcher away from the cup again to thin out our stream. Be careful on this step because the high, thin stream will push your drawing under the espresso. Once we have a thin stream of milk we will pull that stream through the design and finish out our design.

Free Pour vs. Etching


Etching is a type of latte art design that involves moving the foam around with a pointed tool, such as a toothpick or thermometer probe. Many etched designs, use chocolate sauce to decorate the drink and show contrast. These designs would be appropriate on only hot chocolates and mochas.

Etching is time consuming. Certain etched designs likely do not belong in your coffee shop during high volume or busy times due to the extra time it takes. Let’s examine a simple design that your customers and their children will love.

Herring bone


Herring bone

Begin by using a spoon to mix the chocolate with a small amount of hot milk.

Pour the milk high and slow for the duration of the pour, right in the center. For this design you won’t want to leave any white foam on top.

With a spoon, retrieve a small amount of excess foam from the steaming pitcher. Use this foam to make a skinny, white line across the cup. Repeat this step for a total of three white stripes on the surface of the drink.

Using a bottle of chocolate with a thin, pointed tip, make an outline of chocolate around the edges of the white stripes.

Using your thermometer or other pointed tool strike a line perpendicular to the white stripes and the chocolate. Strike across the drink, back and forth, four times in total to create the herring bone effect.

Etched Design: Herring Bone




Pour the milk high and slow, then move down to the center of the cup, leaving only a simple white dot by moving in close at the end of the pour.

Using a bottle of chocolate with a thin, pointed tip, make an outline circle of chocolate around the white dot. Moving out from the white dot make 2 or 3 more rings of chocolate, progressively larger as you move out toward the rim of the cup.

Use a thermometer probe, toothpick or some other dedicated latte art tool to complete the next steps. 

To begin, push your probe into the center of the white dot. Pull it out the edge or rim of the cup. repeat this step from 3, 6, 9 and 12 o’clock in the cup.

Next push the tip of your probe into the the milk at the outside rim of the cup and directly in between two of the other points. Pull it into the center, pull it out and repeat all the way around the cup. 8 total passes will create a nice little flower.

Etched Design: Spiderweb

Pouring a Heart

soft heart

To pour a soft heart, start with the pitcher 4 to 6 inches above the rim of the cup. Pour slowly into the center of the espresso. As the cup fills to between one half and two thirds, move abruptly to a low, fast pour. Stay in the center of the cup. At this point the white spot of milk is ready to be cut into a heart. When the cup is full, lift the pitcher to a high pour and push it forward across the cup.

Example 3 P’s instruction set: The Soft Heart

1: Slow, High, Center

2: Fast, Low, Center

3: Slow, High, Strikethrough

Demonstration: Soft Heart

Hard Heart

To learn to pour the hard heart you will need to add another technique. The next technique is a smooth back and forth “wiggle” motion, or pendulum swing, of the milk pitcher. It is important to understand that this motion is not a side to side or a zigzag motion. This motion does not represent a change in the position of the pour. The goal is to move the milk inside the pitcher, not to move the pitcher itself. Practice your wiggle with a pitcher of water. Gently wiggle from side to side, maintaining the a synchronized rhythm with the flowing stream of liquid.

Example 3 P’s instruction set: The Hard Heart

1: Slow, High, Center

2: Fast, Low, Center, Wiggle Wiggle

3: Slow, High, Strikethrough

Demonstration: Hard Heart

Pouring a Rosetta

Truly an expansion of the techniques previously discussed, the “rosetta” is the most iconic latte art design.

 This design will incorporate all the techniques you have learned so far, with the addition of a change in position. That change is a backwards movement. A common misconception is that a rosetta is drawn by moving the milk pitcher from the the front of the cup all the way to the back. In fact for most designs the pour begins in the center of the cup and moves from there. Rosettas poured from front to back will be skinny, and will resemble a Christmas tree. By maintaining a center pour and moving back from there the early layers of the rosetta are allowed to curl up and around into a “halo”, and will coalescewith the rest of the design.

Example 3 P’s instruction set: Rosetta

1: Slow, High, Center

2: Fast, Low, Center, Wiggle Wiggle

3: Fast, Low, Center, Wiggle Wiggle, Move Backward

4: Slow, High, Strikethrough

Demonstration: Rosetta

Pouring a tulip

Pouring a tulip uses the same basic technique as a Hard Heart with one added step: A stop and start again.

Begin by pouring the first part of a hard heart, but before the strike through, stop, return to the top of the cup and begin drawing the second design while pushing into the first design. repeat this process as many times as you would like, essentially stacking hearts on top of one another.

Once you have poured all of your layers, strike through all layers at once.

Demonstration: Tulip