Coffee almost-art


Although Melbourne Coffee Review doesn’t think much of coffee art, I am still out to perfect it. There are difficulties with home machines in getting the milk right (ie. hot enough, quickly enough) but this morning I must have done something right, as the picture suggests; should my technique have been slightly better perhaps we would’ve seen the elusive free pour leaf (which is the the one and only goal – until I reach that and find something else I’d like to do).

So to clarify, I don’t work as a barista – although I recently indulged in a course that was fun and taught me a little more than I knew already. I’d rather work as a designer once I finish this last semester of uni, being a barista might possibly be the temporary fall back plan in case I wind up living out in woop-woop (That story to come when I’m allowed to share it) although I’d probably try wedge myself into some kind of photography job if that ever occurs.

Espresso tips:

  • Own a grinder with grind settings… (one day, one day). However the coffee you can make with pre-ground, if you’re careful can be okay, so do proceed.
  • Buy Fairtrade
  • Grind the beans yourself (see the first and last point – I don’t do this and it makes me sad)
  • White dots in the lovely brown crema shouldn’t be there! (see point 1)
  • 30 second extraction for 30mls of espresso (see point 1 – not usually or always possible with pre-ground)

Milk frothing tips:

  • Hot, fast steam wand
  • No noise after the initial, ‘put the wand in the milk’
  • Use a milk thermometer if you have no idea, or your heat tolerance in your hands clearly isn’t high enough (like mine)
  • If you don’t use a thermometer, heat your milk until you can’t touch the jug and maybe give it a tiny bit extra
  • If you can smell your milk you’ve burnt it
  • Sit the wand just under the surface at the top of the milk and NOT so it bubbles
  • Do not freaking wave the jug up and down, it should just sit there.
  • Milk should be smooth and silky and not have air bubbles


  1. said:

    Just one little thing, there should be a noise when frothing milk, you are quite correct about the texture, tight small bubbles is what you are after, but there should be almost a slight sucking noise, and what you are trying to do it fold the milk over itself to get that smooth velvety texture. And use fresh full cream cold milk. If you can get the milk to do a mini whirlpool, you are there.
    and yes…the grind is the most important aspect, along with fresh beans…not rubbish like you buy from Coles.

    July 23, 2009
  2. said:

    quite right, how dissapointing is it when a ‘barista’ who you have just paid $4 to, thinks he is making a milkshake!

    July 23, 2009

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