THERE is a fine art to making a great coffee and Launceston baristas are taking it to the next level.
At many cafes and restaurants across the city, lattes and cappuccinos are being presented with everything from hearts, to rosettas and leaves on top.
And the love of creating latte art is about to get competitive.
Within the next few weeks, friendly latte art competitions are expected to take place across the city.
Latte art is different to stencilling with chocolate and is instead done purely with the barista using warm milk and the espresso shot.
Sweetbrew owner Tim Brammall said he had been in discussions with other Launceston cafes about the competition idea.
‘‘It’ll be a fairly easy going thing,’’ Mr Brammall said.
‘‘We’ve talked to a few of the other cafes and hopefully it’ll be more just a bit of fun for the baristas rather than trying to put cafe against cafe.
‘‘But there is also talk of every few months doing it more as a structured thing, with judging.’’
Latte art isn’t easy and anyone in the business will tell you it takes a lot of practice and patience.
Ritual Coffee owner Tim Jarosz has been teaching baristas the tricks of the trade at TasTAFE’s Drysdale campus for a number of years.
He said more people were interested in learning about how to create latte art nowadays, but it wasn’t simple.
‘‘The thing about latte art is unless you are doing really nice shots and really nice milk, latte art is actually hard to do,’’ he said.
‘‘You’ve got to have the right technique, the right milk jug, good milk and good coffee.’’
He said baristas also had to ensure they didn’t waste too long trying to make it look perfect.
‘‘It can be time consuming so you’ve got to have a good balance,’’ he said.
‘‘You don’t want to have a customer waiting too long for their coffee.
‘‘(Although) it shows a lot of class when you walk into a cafe that is doing it.
‘‘I say it’s like food, if it’s presented well, people are going to take a liking to it.’’
Sweetbrew barista Yorick FitzGerald said he started learning the skill of latte art when he worked at a cafe in Salamanca, Hobart, before moving to Launceston.
‘‘Guys I was working with at the time were right into it,’’ he said.
‘‘The best way to learn is just being with people and being around it.’’
The easiest latte art to create, Mr FitzGerald says, is a heart.
‘‘You don’t have to do a lot of manipulation with the milk, it’s basically rising your crema up and then settling the milk foam on top of that,’’ he said.
Leaves, on the other hand, aren’t easy, but they are fast.
‘‘They’re fast because you don’t have to break the stream,’’ Mr FitzGerald said.
‘‘It’s a continuous motion, you just go up and break back through
‘‘A lot of other designs you have to break your flow, so it’s a little bit slower.’’
Mr FitzGerald said latte art was really addictive.
‘‘There’s always more to learn, especially with the internet and the world latte art competitions and things,’’ he said.
‘‘There’s so much inspiration out there to keep trying to get better.’’
He said it was good to see a number of cafes across Launceston were giving latter art a go.
‘‘It inspires people working elsewhere but also lifts the bar of coffee making,’’ he said.
‘‘Suddenly that’s the expectation for coffee drinkers ... and it’s always a good indication that the barista is passionate about their job and is proud of their work.’’
Mr Jarosz said he loved the idea of a friendly latte art competition between baristas.
‘‘It’s good to get a lot of baristas into the one room producing really high quality stuff,’’ he said.
‘‘It can only help the industry.’’
Coffee-making courses run by Ritual Coffee’s Tim Jarosz are held regularly at TasTAFE’s Drysdale campus. The next barista basics (Learn How to Make a Great Coffee) night course, including learning a little bit of latte art, will be held in Launceston on September 1 and 2. Contact TasTAFE on 1300 655 307 for more details.