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Latte art with plant-based drinks: the same as dairy latte art, just made with plants.

Tuesday 16 May

Latte art and plant-based drinks are absolutely two of the hottest topics in the coffee industry today. So, the next question is: is it more difficult to pour latte art with plant- based? No! Although there are a couple of tricks to be aware of.
As a professional barista you know that to achieve complex designs and precision you require plenty of training and practice, this is also true when dealing with plant-based drinks.

Find the perfect alternative for your latte drinks.

The growth of interest in plant-based beverages can’t be ignored: coffee shops around the world are searching for the perfect plant-based options to add to their menus and pair with their coffees. Customers who have intolerances, allergies or that simply made their own choice of life by eliminating dairy products from their diet, both for health or ideological reasons, will keep plant-based drinks in their refrigerator and they will ask for the same alternative also in their favorite coffee shop.

It’s very important to reinvent your coffee according to your customers' needs. To keep your standards high you need to find the perfect plant-based beverages to match your coffee proposals: not all plant-based products have the same taste and mouthfeel or have the right qualities to achieve the microfoam standards to perform a great latte art. If you are interested in learning more about the interaction of plant-based drinks with coffee, you can check out our Plant-based drinks and coffee” course.

What’s latte art?

Latte art is the creation of a design on the surface of drinks like latte, cappuccino, flat white or similar. It is created by pouring a silky microfoam made from the milk or plant-based beverage into a perfect shot of espresso.

The name “latte art” was first coined in Italy when, back in the 80’s it was common for a barista to pour a “heart” or even a “rosetta” when serving a cappuccino. Remember, the word latte is simply the Italian word for milk.

Although the origins of latte art were founded in Italy, it started to become famous in the late 80’s in Seattle, a city with a great history around coffee: this was the beginning of a new age of coffee, it was no more drank only for a need or for the taste but coffee had become a culinary art.

World Latte Art Championship

The artistic expression is still the basis of latte art. In 2005 the first edition of World Latte Art Championship was the demonstration of a worldwide interest around latte art. Over the years baristas from all over the world challenged in on-demand performances to become the World Latte Art champion, a very prestigious and coveted title.

The last World Latte Art Championship 2022 was won by the Italian Carmen Clemente, who was trained from the former Champion, Italian as well, Manuela Fensore: World Latte Art Championship is a very emotional and stimulating challenge. After her victory, Carmen commented “What I like about the Coffee Championships is precisely the sportsmanship that unites us all, there is no envy or careerism, just a lot of support and the desire to compete”. This is the spirit of those competitions: they require a lot of studying and practice, they can be stressful but also very exciting and full of inspiration and they lead to personal and professional growth. If you think you have the right skills to compete, find out more about World Latte Art Championship registration.

Easy latte art with plant-based beverages

Today we know for sure that we can achieve high standards of design, texture and pleasantness of taste in latte art by using plant-based beverages specially developed for professional use. To make great latte art designs with plant-based beverages you have to know how to treat the product and its characteristics: plant-based beverages foam best when chilled, each variety has its own optimal temperature to foam, once ready, they need to be swirled to ensure the microfoam is evenly distributed before pouring the latte art creation.

Alpro Barista is a special range of plant-based beverages created for you because we know that, as a pro, you want optimal and consistent performance from the products you select.

Each plant-based beverage of the Alpro Barista range (Oat, Almond, Soya and Coconut) is ideal to be combined with coffee and when foamed at the right temperature guarantees these performances:

  • easy to steam (increasing volume by 30% or more)

  • produces a perfect microfoam

  • gives you the perfect canvas for your latte art

  • never curdles

Microfoam technology

You know that a silky and consistent microfoam is the secret for a perfect latte art, so let’s talk a little bit in detail about microfoam technology and the difference between microfoaming dairy and no-dairy milk.

Steaming has been for several years the only way to produce high-quality microfoam: microfoam is different from macrofoam. During the stretching phase macrofoam is created but this must be broken down during the vortex produced in the jug by the steam wand to form microfoam. The microfoam is made of microscopic, uniform bubbles which make the microfoam shiny and fluid, allowing the Barista to pour latte art.

To reach this result it is very important to control the temperature during the steaming and to stop below the maximum depending on the product:between 70°C for regular milk, 60°C for Alpro Barista Almond, 65°C for Alpro Barista Soya, Oat and Coconut.

There are many variables involved in steaming correctly: pressure, temperature, the steam wand and the material of the jug, but the most important variable is the technique used by the Barista.

In recent years milk foaming technology has evolved significantly: automated foamers have been developed to help baristas to foam different types of milk depending on the required objective.

Automated foamers are suitable also for plant-based beverages and they can be helpful for your coffee shop if you want to reduce timing and increase quality consistency of your microfoam. They are particularly sought after in shops with many staff or a high staff turnover.

Pour love into your coffee

Every choice you make to improve the experience of your customers will be appreciated and will make them come back again and again: latte art made with plant-based beverages is a choice that indicates the level of precision and care that you exercise in your coffee shop and will not go unnoticed.

So what are you waiting for?

Get your (micro)foam party started with Alpro Barista: serve your swan, tulip or rosetta latte art with a new twist. Try all the varieties and let us know which is your favorite one. Make a change to be the change: remember that all the Alpro Barista products and packaging are planet-friendly, just like us.

Check out our step by step guides to steaming with plant-based.