Posted Fri Jan 25, 2013, 12:56am Subject: Re: Latte art
Thank you! In fairness, I was using a Synesso Hydra paired with a Robur E and REALLY high-quality milk that makes thick microfoam a breeze, which may or may not be cheating. Haha.
As far as tips, there are a couple things that have really helped me with this specific design. First, the "push," IMO, is the most valuable etching skill there is, but especially for the tulip. What I mean by the "push" is when I start to get in close to the milk and the white starts to come to the surface, I increase my pour speed just a touch and push it towards the back of the cup, farthest away from me. The second thing is the stop. When you push it to the back, the way you pull back is important. You want to cut it off, but you have to stop in one fluid motion. Doing it like this, each tier of the tulip should be pushed back as far as possible, in a crescent-like shape. Then each tier after that, just start a little closer to the front of the cup, making sure that there is enough brown so that they don't clump together. Each tier should expand the previous a bit. Angling the cup toward your pitcher is really helpful too.
Obviously, the way the milk is textured is most important. For this, I like it a little thicker than a latte, but a bit thinner than a cap. I just find that that's easiest for me.
Posted Sat Jan 26, 2013, 7:10pm Subject: Re: Latte art
Here's one from this evening. The microfoam was pretty thin and this was the second pour out of the pitcher. (The first one was a disaster). Turns out I was able to get many more leaves then before. Not the best looking pour but different than what I normally do.
Posted Tue Jan 29, 2013, 11:40am Subject: Re: Latte art
It seems I try to be conscious to pour the "zig-zag" much wider and slower (the slower the pour is the the fewer and more widely spaced and defined the leaves) than is my normal tendency, the wider the better for full leaves, I think mine above is still too narrow.... oh, and of course...tilt the cup towards the pitcher, and pour no more forward than the middle of the cup (or even slightly to the back (away from the pitcher).
Doug: So the interesting thing about the Strega, which is a hybrid-lever machine, is that by controlling the lever is is possible to change the pressure profile during the shot extraction. The coffee I have right now, is a very dark roast, and tends to always taste bitter to me (even when the temp is correct)... so I've been experimenting with all sorts of dosing and extraction profiles, so that it has a pleasant taste as a straight shot (I've been tasting it before I add the milk). First I was keeping the grind constant (a grind that would be appropriate for 18g dose and 25-30 second extraction) and gradually reducing the dose (I went down to 14g, in 1g increments) in an attempt to increase the extraction flow rate, increase crema, get a more mild shot...but I really didn't like the various results with that approach.
So now I'm dosing normally, grinding a little finer, and once the shot begins, I retard the flow rate (by controlling the lever rebound) and stop the shot just short of any blonding (maybe 1.5 - 1.75 oz.). So I've got a lower pressure, longer extraction that seems to bring out the best taste in this particular blend. Keep in mind, at a grind fine enough or a dose high enough to have a 50 second extraction on a pump driven machine with constant extraction pressure, you're right, it will be blonde and over extracted....
Also, although I can't pour nice latte art with regular 1% milk, the 1% organic pours really nicely, and tastes great too!
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