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My latest attempt at creating latte art (admittedly theres still room for improvement).

My question is, what is causing the crema around the milk to have such a charred look to it? It isn't immediately noticeable after adding the milk but within a minute after it starts developing that charred appearance.

enter image description here

  • I suspect these are tiny particles of ground coffee getting pulled out of suspension as crema plunged below the surface by adding milk rises back to the top. If I use espresso grind, esp. on dark roasts, I seem to get more of these particles, possibly because the darker roasts are more brittle and produce more "dust" in the grind. – hardmath Apr 1 '15 at 14:33
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Hard to diagnose just on the back of a photo, but if I had to guess, I'd say the milk is not "sunk" properly (i.e. the consistency of your espresso is different to that of the milk). This would also explain why the base of the rosetta is a bit "murky". That took me a while to figure out, but I had the same issue (check this out, then compare to this). So in practical terms, avoid wiggling the pitcher before a white "dot" appears on the surface. Only once the white dot appears on the surface and the stream of milk coming from the pitcher has pushed it further into the cup, should you start rocking the pitcher left to right (good examplehere albeit a different pattern). Hope this helps!

3

In addition to what have been said by @Stanimiroff, it could be added that, in general, fine cream with, no bubbles*, can be achieved if the steam is used to twirl the milk initially and distribute heat equally in the pitcher without holding it on the surface too long. The bubbles are formed either in the beginning, if you keep the steam on the surface for too long or, at the end, if you overheat the milk. Another thing to consider is how fast do you heat it, the faster, the more difficult to avoid bubbles.
Afterwards you can try to homogenise it by gently hitting and stirring, but the final result is mostly determined by the temperature (how high it is, how fast it increased).

bubbles*=(reached very high temperature/boiling point)

P.S. rule of thumb for temperature is our (pitcher holding) hand natural heat tolerance, i.e. 60-65 Celsius (140-149 Fahrenheit).

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