Sunday, November 11, 2007

Welcome to Coffee Talk

OK, I haven't discovered any new atrocities on the fat front in the last few days, and there certainly will not be any football blogging this week. So I thought instead I would give you an update on my latte art efforts.

I finally got my espresso machine back after a month in the shop. It was a horrible time, but I made it through. Unfortunately my art suffered, so I've had a lot of ugly (but still tasty) results since being reunited with the machine. You may recall my previous best effort. Above is my latest best effort. I agree it is not outstanding, but I think there are promising signs here, namely the shape and curve of the leaves. Now if only I could make the leaves a little thinner, get rid of the errant blobs and drips, not splash the espresso up onto the side of the mug, and center it better... and, uh, like make it look better... then it would look better. At least it is better than some of my previous failures such as the Christmas Tree Cappuccino and the Gonzo (that one in honor of Ralph Steadman). And even though the Stripe may have looked prettier, I think this latest one gets more technical points for filling up the mug and looking more like the rosetta supposed to look. (Here is an example of what the rosetta is supposed to look like, but I think this dude is cheating by pouring the milk over a spoon -- you are not supposed to have to do that).

In case anyone else is sick enough to want to try doing this stuff yourself, here is an article on latte art, and another one, and here are some examples of what good latte art looks like. Yes, I know, mine doesn't look like that. But this stuff is hard, people! So throw me a bone.


Anne said...

Buck up, it's Beat M!ch!g@n week! Your readers and fans demand that you lift the ban on football blogging...GO BUCKS BEAT BLUE

Ms. Pants said...

I'm impressed! I think if I were to attempt latte art, it would be more of the Jackson Pollock genre.

But I can make a mean foam dude. A mean foam.

Mary said...

OK Anne, maybe later in the week once the wound starts to heal I will do a little bit of football blogging after all.

Thanks Ms. Pants -- they say the foam is the key to latte art. So if you are already getting a nice rich foam with itty bitty bubbles that's not too thick, theoretically you ought to be able to do art if that interests you. Then again, I think my foam is damn good, and yet you see the results... so at least some of it must be in the wrist.

One secret I did discover early on: you need a pitcher with a little spout/lip thingy. I wasted several weeks using one without that feature, which you really need in order to pour a narrow enough stream.

Ms. Pants said...

The key to excellent foam is a very cold cup; best is a stainless mini-pitcher that's kept in the fridge with the milk already in, just chillin' and chillin' and chillin' until you're ready to use it. (I've managed pretty good froth from an iced coffee cup.)

I don't know that I can draw little doodads with milk--I generally just want to drink the damn coffee already. But my cappuccino froth could be used to put up wallpaper.

And this article made me giggle today.

Mary said...

OK Ms. Pants, that sounds like a challenge. We may need to have a foam-off! ;) I'm not sure how it would work, but I'm picturing something like Hansel vs. Derek Zoolander on the catwalk...

Very dense foam is my favorite, btw (I love the wallpaper paste image!), but it doesn't work for art. The milk has to end up a little more runny than you might otherwise do, or else it comes out too "chunky" when you try to pour the design. You can still get a pretty, creamy foam with no visible bubbles (unlike my "Gonzo" disaster) even if it's not super thick.

Also thanks for the Disney article. I like how the author takes a story that has nothing at all to do with fat and tries to make a point about "America's expanding waistline". If anything I'd say the more relevant issue is "America's crumbling infrastructure", wouldn't you?

yvlag said...

Hi there

What a nice blog!
I happen to be the dude from

Can I just say that I dont cheat haha. I do not pour the milk over a spoon. It just comes from the jug.

Anyway, keep up the good work!


Mary said...

Hi Youri, thanks for coming by! That is awesome.

Your latte art is gorgeous -- consider me a fan!

And thanks very much for the encouragement. It is that time of the semester where I have temporarily switched to drip coffee, but I'm going to get back at it this summer and try to really nail down the rosetta.