World Latte Art Champion Spills the Beans on Learning Latte Art
Latte art is not for the faint of heart. After all, it’s not easy to use milk and coffee as your medium. In this unique field, Caleb Cha is a bona fide champion. We consulted Caleb Cha, having not only won the Australian, but also the World Latte Art Championships in 2015, Caleb seriously knows what he’s talking about when it comes to latte art!
We recently spoke with Caleb in the leadup to his arrival in Adelaide for a series of latte art workshops at HG Coffee School. He shared a few tidbits about techniques and skills he learned along the way, giving us a taste of what he’ll talk about on his visit here.
To learn latte art, you have to first perfect your milk pouring techniques – it takes finesse to make a great latte design, considering the small size of your canvas and the liquid nature of the medium. Starting out with simple designs such as monk’s heads (more commonly recognised as an apple shape) and the simple heart will help exercise those fine motor skills. With enough practice, you’ll be able to master your hand movements all the way down to the joints!
A steady hand is all it takes to create great latte art, but that’s not always as easy as it sounds. Patience and a calm demeanor will help you avoid mistakes as Caleb explains “calm people can do better because they understand what’s going on.” Because no matter how dexterous you are, letting anger and frustration get to you will likely lead you to make a mistake and make it harder for you to assess what went wrong, and how to improve on it for next time.
Making great latte art takes more than just finesse and a cool head though, as Caleb has found. You also need to change your technique depending on the milk and the machine.. changing the equipment you are working on will force you to adapt and develop your latte art skills even further. Soon you’ll find that not all steam wands behave the same, so the time and technique required to perfectly stretch your milk varies with different machines.
While Caleb is, for the most part, a self-taught latte artist, he advises new latte art learners to find a mentor, someone who can give guidance and provide advice. After all, even Leonardo Da Vinci had a mentor at one stage. Having a friend or colleague that can guide you through your mistakes and push you on to greater achievements is invaluable for motivation.
In Caleb’s case, he had people in the industry who helped and supported him from the beginning of his journey to World Latte Art Champion. Melissa Caia, at the William Angliss Institute, and his old boss helped introduce and encourage him to pursue latte art, and that encouragement helped him stay on track in his pursuit of latte art perfection.
Not everyone is destined to wear a champion’s badge of honour, nor do you need to in order to make amazing latte art. With the right motivation, dedication, and support, you too can be an accomplished latte artist and pour some extra happiness into every coffee you make!
The HG Coffee School is hosting Latte Art Masterclasses with World Latte Art Champion Caleb Cha on March 7th and 8th. For your opportunity to master your latte art skills from the world’s best find more information HERE.