March 30, 2012

Two (Or Three?) Rosettas, One Cup

There is a blog called It has not been updated in some time, and so far as I know, is defunct. That is, very often, how the Internet works. There is no dramatic sign-off, no farewell or goodbye, just an end. Or maybe not. In any case, this was the website that first introduced me to the idea that you could put two rosettas in the same cup. But - and note the italics for emphasis - you could. I could not.

One day, it occurred to me that I might try anyway - if only to see my folly demonstrated clearly. So I poured, doing so as I otherwise would, only leaving enough room in the cup for another rosetta. As much as possible, I turned off my mind, and simply poured. When it was finished, the result was surprising. Looking up at me were two crisp, if a little whispy, rosettas.

"Holy shit," I said.

Since then, I've poured many more doubles, of much greater quality. I've even managed a passable triple - though I am no Hiroshi Sawada. There is nothing different - certainly nothing outright better - about my technique. The only change was in my effort. That is, the change was that I made the effort at all.

Of course, latte art is not merely a matter of will. There is a great deal of practice required, and something of an art to the art. But while those things mattered, the only thing holding me back was the assumption - erroneous, as it turned out - that I wasn't good enough. All it took to prove myself wrong was the willingness to do so.

To be clear, I am not an exceptional case. The other baristas with whom I work have had similar results, pouring things they never thought they could , simply by actually trying to do so. I've seen some pretty fantastic work, both free-pouring and etching.

The lesson is simple: There is nothing wrong with a botched effort, only in a lack of effort. Try more, fail more, succeed more. And make better coffee in the process.


  1. Alas, Double Rosetta is pretty much defunct. I stopped working behind a coffee bar for a season while I work as a stay-at-home dad and prep for another coffee shop opening. I may try to pick up the latte art blogging again when the new shop is a reality. Thanks for the mention and I wish you the best in improving your latte art!

    1. Well, if you do get it started again, I'll certainly check it out. Your site largely taught me how to pour.

      In any case, good luck with the shop.