Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Pouring a heart - a daily dilemma

Pouring a heart into my morning cappuccino has become the bain of my husbands existence.  He is OBSESSED with trying to get it.  Not even trying to get it perfect, but just trying to do it at all!  When he first started it looked like a blob - it tasted great (we were using LavAzza espresso beans) but it didn't look pretty.  After a while it actually started to resemble an organ, not a heart just yet, but more of like the female genitalia....ya, some may love it - but it wasn't a heart.

The daily heart pouring has become almost a contest - he came close today when we were at the Espresso Bella cafe in Concord where he works and my mom passed by.  She said "oh wow, a tee-pee!"  Then he turned the cup around so the point was facing her and she said "oh, ha ha ha, is it supposed to be a heart?!"  SUCCESS!!!  well, sorta.  He'll keep trying.

In case your interested in starting your own heart pouring contest for your wife, husband or loved one.  Here are some instructions and pictures.  We have a whole bunch of frothing jugs that get just the right thickness of foam, and of course the Espresso Bella espresso beans if you need those as well.  Check it out.  www.EspressoBella.ca then click on Shop Online and you'll see it all there.  I wish you luck!!  Send me your pictures!! 

Some may say that mastering the art of pouring a heart can be comparable in difficulty to learning how to swim. When you first start it feels impossible but once you figure it out, you won’t remember why it was so hard. Just don’t give up and practice, practice, practice!! Consider the Espresso as “the Canvas” and the Steamed Milk as “the Paintbrush”.
You will require a very rich and thick crema on the top of your espresso and your steamed milk to be very textured and consistent. Whole milk works best for this. When steaming your milk, try to develop a “swirl” in the milk by moving the pitcher in a circular fashion around the steam wand. This action will make the foam thicker and add texture to the milk. After steaming, prevent the milk in the pitcher from “separating” by spinning the jug in a circular motion until you see the milk is one consistency. The milk should look silky, shiny, and very thick, with no bubbles.
Once you have your “Canvas” (Espresso) and your “Paintbrush” (Steamed Milk) ready, pour the steamed milk gently into the middle of the extracted espresso in the cup. Be very careful not to disturb the crema on the 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. 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 centre 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 rings. Finish by gently moving the pitcher so the continuous stream of milk cuts through the centre of the circle to the edge of the cup. This will create an indentation at the top and a point at the base of the heart.

Don't Forget Wait until the cup is nearly two-thirds full before you lower the pitcher down to the cup. Pour with a distance of 4 to 5 inches between the cup and pitcher. This will prevent too much foam from entering the cup before the latte art forms. Pour the milk very slowly into the cup. This will give you more control over what is happening until you become more comfortable. Pouring a heart is not easy and requires a lot of practice, but don't give up - you can do it.