How To Nail Impressive Latte Art — No Technical Pouring Required

If you've ever ordered a fancy coffee from a chichi café or even just scrolled through your social media feed, you've probably come across your fair share of photogenic lattes — those creamy, caffeinated sips featuring floating designs of hearts, flowers, and even swans.

For the uninitiated, the art of creating patterns and shapes in a cup of coffee can seem like magic, and this isn't far off. The talented baristas who manage to perfect latte art do indeed apply some sleight of hand, achieving those drinkable designs with steamed milk through careful angling, measured pouring, and a skilled flick of the wrist.

Of course, one doesn't have to be a professional to create latte art like one. As is the case with most things, practice makes perfect. But for those who can't seem to nail the technical pouring method, there is an easier way to create artisanal cups of coffee at home. All you need to DIY delightful designs in your brew is fine ground powder and a stencil.

Use a stencil to dust on your design

The next time you feel like getting creative with your coffee, just pick up a stencil. Typically made of plastic or metal, these specialty latte art templates come with countless shapes and designs etched in, so unlike the typical milk-pouring method, there's really no limit to what you can achieve. 

Although this shortcut does not require any special approach to pouring, you will still need to be sure that your latte is topped with a stable layer of frothy milk. Rather than creating your decoration with the milk itself, you'll use it as your blank canvas to make your design pop. Once you've got your preferred stencil in hand, place it on the rim of your cup or hover it just above, leaving some room between the froth. You don't want to place it directly into your drink to not disturb the milky layer. Next, grab your ground powder toppings, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or cocoa, and if you have one, a small fine-mesh sieve. Gently sprinkle the powder through the sieve and onto the stencil until you've dusted on a light layer, completely covering the stencil.

The last step? Carefully pick up the stencil to reveal your powdered work of art beneath. Your friends and family will be beyond impressed, and you didn't even have to stress over spilled milk.