i've been worried for the last few years about the increasing emphasis on Latte Art. seeing things emerge like Latte Art competitions (where drinks are not even tasted) and training folks who really didn't seem to care that much about espresso or even millk flavours and just wanted to learn how to pour rosettes made me nervous that we would soon see a day where presentation became more important to baristas and more rewarded by owners and customers than drink quality.
today i saw the first sign that this is truly starting to occur. i read on an Australian coffee bulletin board a thread about the difficulties of doing good art when there is too much crema.
the solutions included:
- swirling the espresso in the cup first to break down the crema,
- working with old coffee (6 days),
- decreasing the brew pressure (despite the fact that this was noted as producing inferior espresso).
what really scared me was the fact that these suggestions were all from practical experience and were suggested as positive changes - without any noting of possibly negative "side effects."
of course... the idea that the effect is easier to pour latte art and the "side effect" is inferior tasting drinks is the whole issue in a nutshell.
what to do, what to do...