Miss visiting your fave coffee shop for a velvety flat white? We asked Dear Green founder Lisa Lawson and barista trainer Danny Ormonde (both SCA AST accredited) for their pro tips on how to make a flat white at home
Before you start
Invest in a good home espresso machine which has a decent steam pressure such as a La Marzocco Linea Mini or a Sage.
Before you can start honing your latte art, you’ll need to master pulling the perfect espresso shot. Learn how to do this by reading the Indy Coffee Box How To Brew guides here.
Master the milk
Make sure you are using fresh milk as it’ll steam better and keep it chilled; the colder the milk is, the longer you’ll have to steam it and get it right. Use full-fat milk for better flavour and consistency – or a good dairy-free alternative such as Minor Figures Oat Milk or Oatly Oat Drink.
To froth: fill your milk pitcher to just under the spout – remember you’ll need room to increase the volume of the milk by one third.
Position the steam wand just underneath the surface of the milk before activating the steam. Aim for a slurping sound and a whirlpool in the jug. Don’t heat the liquid above 67 degrees – if the jug is too hot to touch you know you’ve gone too far and risk losing the natural sweetness and texture of the milk.
Keep in mind that latte art is only possible with lots of practice and the correct texture and consistency of milk.
Perfect your pour
Once you’ve nailed espresso extraction and milk texture, it’s time to practise your pour.
Tip: try practising your pour with water before you work with milk to create muscle memory for what you’re trying to do.
Keep the texturised milk in the jug swirling until the point of pouring, this is to ensure the milk and air don’t separate.
Start to pour with a controlled speed. Pour at a high height so that the milk initially dives under the espresso and finish low to allow the foam to create a pattern on top of the espresso. Pour with the appropriate angle to ensure hot milk and froth are pouring together as one.
When the cup is almost full, the spout of the jug should nearly be touching the surface of the coffee. It’s how you manipulate the jug’s movement which will determine the latte art result.
Try keeping the latte art simple at first – pour directly into the centre to achieve a circle, then strike through the circle vertically to create a heart shape.
Don’t worry if it doesn’t work out, keep practicing to refine your technique as it’s easier the more you do it and will soon become second nature.
Consider bean quality
However good the latte art, it won’t be a barista-quality flat white unless the coffee is excellent. Use freshly roasted speciality beans from independent roasteries for the best result.