Few things are as visually satisfying as the look of a perfectly foamed latte with an intricate design resting on top of the steamed milk (and let’s be honest, the Instagram likes don’t hurt either). However, your latte art habit can cost you upwards of $20 a week — that’s over a thousand dollars a year!

Want to save money, up your Instagram game, and impress your friends with your creativity? Learn how to make latte art at home, even without a fancy, expensive espresso machine with all the bells and whistles. Here’s how to make a foam heart to top your at-home latte:

What You’ll Need:

  • Small handheld milk frother
  • Small metal pitcher with a pointed spout
  • Whole milk*
  • Ceramic coffee mug

*While you may be addicted to your skinny lattes, whole milk makes better latte art. That’s because it’s easiest to pour and makes the most velvety foam, perfect for your designs.

What You’ll Do:

  1. Brew your espresso as usual, depending on your preferred method.
  2. Heat your whole milk to between 140-160°F. If you’re using a microwave, put the milk in a microwaveable bowl or container, heating in 30 second increments until you reach the desired temperature. You could also heat the milk on the stovetop using a thermometer to check temperature.
  3. Transfer the milk to your metal pitcher.
  4. Place your milk frother in your pitcher so that it’s almost touching the bottom of the pitcher.
  5. Froth milk according to your model’s instructions and recommendations.
  6. Once finished, tap your pitcher on the counter and swirl the milk gently to get rid of any big bubbles.
  7. With your espresso in your ceramic mug of choice, begin pouring milk from your pitcher into your mug. Start by pouring high and tilting your coffee mug (at about a 45° angle) as you pour a very thin stream of milk into the center of your mug.
  8. Once the cup is about 80% full, lower the pitcher to just above the surface. Use your wrist to move the pitcher back and forth so the milk begins making ripples.
  9. To finish, slowly tilt the pitcher back towards you, drawing the steam back through the center of your heart.

Need visualization? Starbucks has a great video tutorial to help you out. Or, try visiting your local coffee shop during an off time, and see if a friendly barista will offer you any tips or tricks. With practice and a lot of patience, you’ll start creating latte art masterpieces.

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