drink tank

CAFFEINATED CRAFTSMANSHIP

Local baristas pour latte art that impresses.

WRITTEN BY HEIDI BETHEL
PHOTOS BY JAMIE KINGHAM

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Hearts. Tulips. Roses. Leaves. Curlicues.

Latte art seems to be taking over the coffee scene one steamy espresso shot at a time. There are some intricate pieces, for which folks use a tool with a fine point to make designs that often are etched in chocolate over the steamed milk. But purists practice free-pour latte art.

“Free pour marries the milk and the espresso,” explains Mark Trujillo, owner of Hub Coffee Roasters in Reno. “The key is getting the milk to the perfect consistency, then learning how to control the pour to make beautiful shapes as the milk intermingles with the espresso. It’s definitely aesthetically pleasing, but it also folds the ingredients to make a balanced flavor.”

To learn the basics, baristas typically start with the heart shape. They move on to make the piping-hot art form all their own.

“It’s really the individual’s ability to create a piece using this dynamic canvas,” says Matt Polley, owner of The Jungle, which recently expanded its Reno café. “The customers recognize and appreciate this expression. It makes the drinks not only delicious, but also entertaining.”

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Café competition

Several times per year, places such as Coffeebar in Reno and Truckee host free-pour latte-art competitions. Greg Buchheister, owner of Coffeebar, adds, “Every shop has its own version, but it’s the equivalent of an old gun-swinging duel in the Wild West. Each barista has some shots pulled for them by the host, and they can steam their milk however they normally would.

“At the end, the judges pick the best representation of the desired design,” Buchheister says, “and that person gets some major bragging rights.”

So the next time you hanker for a hot cup of joe, be sure to swing by a local coffeehouse to enjoy a beverage as pleasing to the eye as it is to the energy level.

A major fan of the delightful honey latte, Heidi Bethel always enjoys the extra treat of a blooming rosebud atop her mug.

Locations

Coffeebar

10120 Jibboom St., Ste. 101, Truckee
530-587-2000

12047 Donner Pass Road, Truckee
530-587-7707

682 Mt. Rose St., Reno

775-800-1090, http://www.Coffeebartruckee.com

Hub Coffee Roasters

727 Riverside Drive, Reno, 775-453-1911

941 N. Virginia St., Reno

http://www.Hubcoffeeroasters.com

The Jungle

246 W. First St., Reno

775-329-4484, http://www.Thejunglereno.com

 

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