An Unbroken Ring of Crema
The monk’s head design is a well-suited starting point because it is the only single-element pattern in the Latte Art Lexicon. The white circle (reminiscent of the shaved heads of the Capuchin Monks) is poured using only the placing technique. It can be challenging to make the monk’s head form a perfect circle. It usually acquires a slight fringe because the flow of milk along the north-south axis draws some brown crema into the design. This same tendency to create a fringe gives rise to the heart shape, described later.
To enlarge the white part of this design, you need to increase your flow rate. It is important that you sufficiently tilt the cup so your spout can access a <1-cm range from the surface. You should establish this pouring height at the halfway point and maintain it right up to the end of the pour.
The monk’s head lends itself to a commercial setting because it is the easiest pattern to teach. It is also the fastest of the patterns to pour because it calls for the highest flow rate — 40 mL/sec.
Specifications for the Monk’s Head Design
Canvas height: The halfway point
Tilt: To the edge of the rim, due north
Painting height: <1 cm
Entry point: The bull’s-eye — the junction of the north–south and east–west axes
Flow rate: 20 mL/sec
Flow profile: See chart below. Notice the acceleration in the flow rate into the summit of the design. This will cause your pattern to expand, filling up more of the cup.
The flow profile of the monk’s head design.
The Monk’s Head explained.
The Coffee Accordion
We probably don’t have to point out that when pouring any design, you need to slowly straighten the cup back to a horizontal position to prevent spills.