What Latte Art Taught me about Simple Things

I’ve been obsessed with making latte art for the last 2 years. Nothing (almost nothing) is more satisfying than drinking your own pretty latte. I am far from barista level however I was able to extrapolate a lesson out of the practice into my life. The value of respecting the simple things.

Simple Things

When pouring latte art, the milk must be steamed to around 60–65°C. Steaming, which appears to be simply one of the steps is the most important step. If the milk is done right, the right to pour latte is granted. When simple things are not done well, everything following is either taken away or diminished.

I struggled in the beginning and never truly realized the importance. I made excuses by blaming the milk, machine, beans or anything I could put my eyes on. I did not make excuses because I knew that I was bad at steaming milk, I made them because I could not find the root of the problem. This is often the case with simple things, they disguise themselves as tasks when they are surprisingly vital keys to progress. They don’t stand out or raise flags, they simply wait until you find them.

After months of failing to steam the milk right, I had done it for the first time by chance. It was enlightening. I was finally able to make a design by simply pouring milk into a shot of espresso. It was effortless and amazing yet the design was disgusting. Once I had done the simple thing right, I could feel it. Simple things click and open new opportunities.

Just because I had done it once does not mean I was able to reproduce. The simple thing took me another month to really figure out what I was doing right. Once I had figured it out, It was much easier to replicate. Once I was able to replicate it I felt powerful. I was finally able to start practicing latter art. After you do the simple things (correctly) enough times, the simple thing will become natural and prop up your confidence.

Although the process became natural to me, it did not necessarily mean I was consistent. At a few points, I became bored of the process and underestimated the importance. Until I had learned to respect the simple thing, my right to pour latte art was taken away. Simple things will become natural but require the same level of attention and respect at all times. At no point should a simple thing be underestimated, overlooked or forgotten.

TLDR: Respect the simple things