The tricks to making latte art are:
1) Measure your milk.
By measuring just the right amount of milk needed you will ensure that at the end of your pour, you will end with the milk foam coming out of the pitcher. If we overfill our steaming pitcher, once we fill our latte or cappuccino cup with the milk, the foam will still be left inside the pitcher. As we pour milk from our pitcher, the milk is heavier than the foam so it will come out first while the foam will be left inside your pitcher.2) Use, fresh cold milk.
Using fresh cold milk and also a cold steaming pitcher will give you more time to heat and aerate your milk. You also never want to double steam milk as the sugars in the milk will degrade, giving you an unbalanced bitter tasting drink.
3) Heat the milk properly.
You want to heat and aerate your milk until it reaches around 150°F. If we over-steam or overheat the milk we again burn the sugars in the milk making the drink unbalanced. I like to use the crease of my palm as a temperature gauge. Once I cant keep the pitcher on my hand for more than a few seconds I know that the milk is around 140°F. Then giving me enough time to turn the steam wand off before the milk gets too hot.
4) Make a vortex.
Once you have measured your milk and are ready to steam, you’ll want to place the steam wand at an angle so the the steam pushes the milk in a circle around the pitcher. This will ensure that all the milk heats evenly and that any large bubbles will pop while the milk is spinning in the pitcher.
5) Make Tiny Bubbles.
For a creamy, velvet like texture you want to create micro foam. To do this you want to make the air bubbles as small as possible. To do this you’ll need to barely move your pitcher down when you’re steaming. The size of the bubble will be the distance between the end of your steam wand and your milk. So just small movements when adding air to your milk will ensure that you don’t end up with a lot of large air bubbles.
6) Practice! When I first started in coffee over 20 years ago, I went and purchased 2 gallons of milk and just steamed it until I got the hang of it.