How do you drink your coffee? I usually ask for a latte with skim milk. And every time I grab one from a local coffee shop, the hot beverage always looks so pretty. But I never truly appreciated the effort until now.
I went to an educational session at a local coffee shop in Toronto called Pilot Coffee Roasters to learn more about the beverages I consume every morning. I also learned how to make latte art from their talented baristas.
As easy as it might seem to pour milk and make a shape using foam, it's not quite so simple.
How is latte art made?
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First, when making a latte, the best milk to use is 2% milk because it has the perfect amount of fat, which makes creating images easier because the milk turns creamy when frothed.
And so, as you may have guessed, one of the most essential things about latte art is that the milk, when steamed, has to turn into a smooth, silky consistency without any bubbles.
Once the milk has turned into the required consistency and you've poured your espresso shot into a cup, tilt the cup 45 degrees and start to pour the milk from a high distance while also moving it from side to side to help the milk mix with the coffee. The higher you pour the milk into the cup, the further down the milk will reach, and that's what you want.
Then, once the milk has filled up the cup, stop pouring it from a distance and instead start pouring the milk close to the top of the foam.
By moving the pitcher around, you can start to make shapes with the foam, which, when you get really good at it, will become art.
When I did it for the first time, my art impressed some people, but that's because I cheated and got shaken by the barista who helped me make the shapes. Next time, I'll definitely loosen up and shake around.
Coffee Tasting Experience in Toronto
Coffee cupping at Pilot Coffee Roasters.
At Pilot Coffee Roasters, I learned a lot about the coffee I drink daily that I didn't know before. Like a wine tasting, I went through a blind coffee cupping experience where I put my nose to work to smell all the different beans that create particular tastes.
You can expect to go through an intimate and multi-sensory event to explore the diverse flavours, aromas and textural qualities of specialty coffee.
The "Cupping Sessions" are led by Coffee Educator Mar Otten, who will guide you through the cupping protocol. This helps coffee drinkers empower their palate and better understand their own personal tastes.
When I took part in the event, I had three kinds of beans in front of me, and I blindly smelt and tasted the coffee to find out which one I liked most. I discovered that fruity coffee is the kind I enjoy most because it's so light and sweet.
If you wish to try this experience, it'll cost $85 per person and includes a side-by-side tasting of five specialty coffees, a coffee zine with instructions for cupping at home and a 300-gram coffee bag to take with you.
They plan to begin the sessions at the end of November and will take place bi-weekly at Pilot Coffee Roasters on 117 Ossington Avenue in Toronto from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and guests can book directly via their website.