Constructing the perfect heart or flower design to top a latte is as much a science as it is an art.
I found out first-hand during several attempts to etch a milk heart on espresso under the supervision of Matt Leberman, general manager of Order & Chaos in South Baltimore. In honor of the upcoming Coffee Fest Baltimore — and the latte art championship therein — we asked Leberman for a latte art lesson. (You can watch the results in the video above.)
To the customer, the process appears simple: Grind coffee beans, make espresso, steam milk and slowly swirl it into the espresso before pulling the pitcher away at the perfect moment. But there are plenty of factors that can go awry within those seemingly simple steps.