A latte milk foam heart is a type of latte art. On top of a latte or other espresso or coffee-based drink, a barista may "draw" a simple or elaborate design using milk foam. It takes some practice but is actually relatively simple, and looks quite impressive. Here's how to make a latte milk foam heart for your coffee:
Ingredients and supplies:
- Espresso machine with milk steaming wand
- Milk steaming pitcher (refrigerated)
- Milk thermometer
- Coffee or espresso drink of your choice
- Make your drink. Make your hot coffee or espresso-based drink immediately before you wish to add the foam heart. It should still be hot when you add the milk foam to the top. Pour the drink into your cup or mug.
- Fill the pitcher. A refrigerated pitcher works better for steaming milk than one that is room-temperature. Fill the milk pitcher about 2/3 full with milk, or to the fill line. Do not overfill, or the pitcher will not be large enough for the milk foam. Then add the milk thermometer to the pitcher.
- Steam the milk. Insert the steaming wand into the milk, and steam it to approximately 155 degrees. Watch it carefully; if the milk goes above 180 degrees, it will scorch, and you will have to start over. By inserting the steam wand just below the surface of the milk, you will create the froth, or foam, that is necessary to make a latte milk foam heart for your coffee.
- Texture the milk. "Texturing" the milk means rolling it around in the steam pitcher until the surface turns glossy. This should just take a few seconds, and should be done before the milk has a chance to cool.
- Add milk to your drink. If you wish to add steamed milk to the body of your drink, simply pour it in. It will blend with your already-poured drink. Use a spoon to reserve the foam, making sure only the liquid milk is poured into the drink at this stage.
- Create the latte milk foam heart. Once you're done pouring the milk into the drink, carefully remove the spoon, and pour the froth into your drink. If you're careful, you can pour it into the shape of a heart. If not, you can use the thermometer or the end of your spoon to design latte art in the shape of a heart. You can also dip the end of your spoon in the pitcher of milk, and then dip it into the cup, transferring a little milk foam at a time until you have drawn a heart.
Your milk foam heart may not turn out right the first time, but with practice you can learn to make nearly any shape or pattern you want with the foam on the top of your drink. Latte foam shapes are truly an art form, and many expert baristas practice for hours so that they can create elaborate designs in their drinks.