Ira's Latte Art Bookmarks

Ira's Latte Art Bookmarks
"Walk slowly, but never backward." - Abe Lincoln 

Many of my friends own espresso machines or have access to espresso machines at work, but may not have the time to train as a professional barista.

Like any sport or artistic endeavor, producing good latte art is about learning good form, and then putting it into practice, but how can you tell what's good form?

Below is a list of Instagram resources I've used personally since I've started practicing latte art in 2021. Feel free to jump directly to the links below.

Finally, if you're interested in sponsoring latte art classes for yourself or for baristas in the field, check out the End Notes for an opinion of our industry.

What is Good Latte Art?

While Instagram often focuses on outstanding latte art, you can often visually identify good latte art simply by evaluating texture and contrast. For beginner latte art, I’d recommend looking at hearts and tulips (the more pleats, the harder the design).

Does the design of the milk look "runny" or is it able to stand on its own against the espresso? How white is the milk and how green is the matcha; can you tell the difference or are they blending together? These are qualities you can use when deciding which coffee shop to visit or which Instagram artist to follow.

Good contrast, bad texture (runny, uneven milk)

Improving your Art

Producing good latte art comprises of two parts: steaming and pouring, with steaming being the foundational step in producing good art. Steaming involves heating and injecting air into the milk simultaneously and good temperature and good aeration lead to good texture and good contrast.

To start, I recommend watching Lance Hedrick’s primer on latte art, paying particular attention to steaming.

Finally, below is every latte art video I’ve ever bookmarked on Instagram since I've started training as a barista. I’ve used these on my own journey and I hope they’ll be helpful to you too.

Instagram Resources

Steaming / Pouring

Good art


Super Saiyan

A few mentors have been instrumental to my journey, including: David O, Thatcher S, Brian G, and Lily L. Thank you all for sharing your time and expertise with me.

Finally, here are some outstanding NYC based latte baristas. Visit them at their respective locations and patron their educational opportunities!

Thank you to Hayeon K for inspiring this post.

End Note:

My first exposure to latte art was through Chiwen’s Instagram account, a former barista at Yanni’s coffee in Chelsea. Back then I didn’t know any thing about espresso and frankly it was simply an account I frequented during peak pandemic.

Though I have my misgivings around the addictive and inadequacy-promoting qualities of Instagram, I may have never become a barista without this initial spark, and this post certainly would not have existed without the time and effort of hundreds of content creators in the global coffee community.

Barista work is physical and low-paying. To the average barista, espresso machines and associated equipment are too expensive to own personally. And while baristas have access to machines at work, it’s often challenging to practice latte art when there’s a line of cold brews and iced vanilla lattes waiting to be made.

The irony of high volume cafes is that while baristas are able to make hundreds of drinks per shift, the objective of the business (and customers) is to move the line forward, and generate faster, more frequent sales. This is at odds with practicing latte art, and the craft is often lost in the business.

I’ve always wanted a "latte art bootcamp" for myself and I think both home baristas and professional baristas alike would love a class taught by experts of a particular design (some people are just damned god at pouring pleated tulip cortados).

As a moonshot, I've created a Cash App and various cryptocurrency addresses where you can donate cash, bitcoin, and ethereum to provide educational opportunities for baristas via a curriculum and spot mentorship. All the things I wish I had when I was just learning about latte art.

All proceeds will be used to fund equipment and training for baristas interested in improving their skills, and if we’re fortunate, to provide career advancement opportunities for baristas interested in technology as well. To ensure the safe and transparent use of funds, transactions will be recorded publicly and all spending will be shared on this blog.

Feel free to ask questions and share your ideas by emailing or DM’ing @polycentralcoffee on Instagram.

Cash App: $pinkbourbon

BTC: bc1qhp2e8shckvvj7md5684hcluvy3v7ju0jwp4nnp

ETH: 0xd1c5B1639F6EF21C6d58E870FfDa687768fC14C3

Cheers to you all. Thank you reading.