Rosetta Latte art: How to become a Super-Barista

Latte art won’t make your espresso taste better, but it will show that you care. For best results: use a wide mouth cappuccino cup. Swirl the pitcher of steamed milk before you start, in case the liquid and foam have separated. Pour with a steady hand and consistent, even flow. Your design, including Rosetta latte art, won’t be perfect the first time, but keep practicing!

How to become a Super-Barista:

The espresso is the canvas, The milk is the paintbrush; You are the artist; Final art in a latte cup is the masterpiece“. Sammy Piccolo

A barista, meaning “Coffee bartender” in Italian, is one who has mastered making coffee as a profession. All baristas invest their intention, attention, and passion into the Espresso they are preparing. Since the new millennium began, however, this skill has been brewing up a notch to a whole new genre of “latte art.”

Artisan baristas are now drawing designs atop the foam of lattes and cappuccinos, forming beautiful hearts, rosettes, leaves—even lions, bunnies, and bears! These skillful creators of coffee masterpieces have been dubbed super-baristas. In their hands, our humble cup has become an artful experience. It’s almost a shame to spoil it with a sip!

In 2000, a group of twelve super-baristas met in Monte Carlo to compare their signature styles and espresso-making craft. This modest competition has since grown to become the World Barista Championship, at which more than thirty-five countries compete annually.

Here, the world’s best baristas and coffee enthusiasts gather to witness the latest dazzling coffee sensations and to experience the soulful satisfaction of seeing the ultimate professional espresso makers in action. It’s like a Superbarista Olympics!

4 Tips: Rosetta Latte art

rosetta latte art coffee recipe

Step 1: Prepare your Espresso.

  • Extract 1.5 ounces (45 ml) of espresso using a method and Espresso machine that takes 23 to 26 seconds to brew: Fill the machine’s portafilter with properly ground coffee and tamp it down firmly and uniformly in the filter.
  • Place the filter in the machine and immediately extract the espresso into an 8- ounce (250 ml) rounded coffee cup. Having a rich crema on top is a key to a better Rosetta latte art finish.

Step 2: Steaming milk

  • Purge the air from your steam wand and be sure to wipe the wand clean. Pour fresh, cold milk into a Steaming pitcher until it is half full.
  • Insert the tip of the steam wand near the surface of the milk, to add volume; This is called “stretching” the milk.
  • Observe for a slight temperature increase in the milk. You will know the temperature has increased by feeling the steaming pitcher with your hand. Then submerge the steam wand farther into the milk.
  • Try to develop a “swirl” in the milk while it’s being steamed, by moving the pitcher in a circular fashion around the steam wand. This “swirling” is similar to the motion of whipping cream. The action will make the foam thicker and add texture to the milk.
  • Turn off the steam wand as soon as the steaming pitcher is too hot to hold with your hand! On a thermometer, the temperature of the steamed milk should be maximum 160°F (70°C).
    Note: A steam pitcher with a pointed spout and 8-ounce (250 ml) rounded coffee cups are the easiest to practice with.

Step 3: The Emulsion of Espresso & Milk

Steaming milk

Do not allow the milk in the pitcher to separate. The milk is your “paint”—it should look silky and shiny, not bubbly. If the milk in the pitcher separates (or to prevent it from separating), spin the jug in a circular motion until you see the milk is back to one consistency.

Pour the milk gently into the middle of the extracted espresso in the cup— being very careful not to disturb the crema on top too much. Allow the Espresso to rise by filling the cup with the steamed milk until the cup is about two-thirds full. A “white cloud” should form in the cup.

Step 4: Create your Masterpiece

  • Once the cloud appears, lower the milk jug until it is resting on the cup. The cloud should form a circle.
  • Swirl the Milk pitcher from side to side by wiggling your wrist to ensure the steamed milk and foam are still completely mixed together.
  • Keep slowly pouring the milk steadily into the center of the cup where the white cloud first appeared.
  • When the cup is almost three-quarters full, gently rock the milk pitcher back and forth to create concentric rings. Finish by gently moving the pitcher so the continuous stream of milk cuts through the center of the circle to the edge of the cup. This creates an indentation at the top and a point at the base of the rosetta, thus a rosetta-shaped masterpiece!

Swan latte art

Swan Latte art

Take the pitcher in your stronger hand and the cup in your other hand. From about 2 to 3 inches above, start pouring a thin stream of milk into the center of the cup. The milk should sink below the Espresso.

Continue pouring. When the cup is just over half full, tilt it slightly toward the pitcher, and bring the spout of the pitcher very close to the mouth of the cup. Aim the milk near the handle of the cup. The foam should begin to form a white circle on the surface of the Espresso.

Gently shake the spout from side to side while moving the pitcher across the cup, away from the handle. Gradually straighten the cup as you go.

When you reach the opposite rim of the cup, lift the pitcher 2 to 3 inches higher and quickly move it back toward the handle of the cup, so that the stream of milk cuts a straight line through the zigzag pattern. This will create the stem of the Swan, and transform the zigzag into the leaves.

Important Tips:
Good morning barista
  • Try varying the height and speed at which you pour to see how it affects your design. The faster you pour, the more foam texture you’ll create.
  • Don’t lower the pitcher down to the cup until the cup is nearly two-thirds full.
  • Pour at a distance, leaving 4 to 5 inches between the cup and pitcher. This prevents too much foam from entering the cup before the latte art forms.
  • Try to pour the milk very slowly into the cup. This will give you more time to watch what is happening and become comfortable with the process.

Remember, pouring a Rosetta latte art or Swan are not easy—it requires a lot of love. Good luck and keep practicing!