So there are several different types of latte art, but something that's important to understand is that any time that you are intentionally combining the espresso and the milk in a way that is intentional, it is purposeful, you're creating latte art.
Literally if we're breaking that down, we're saying that it's milk art. We're creating art in the coffee with milk. So there are several ways to do that, one is just to really pour in the center and get a nice marbled surface and you create a visually pleasing combination of espresso and treme and the milk that you're pouring into it. As long as you're doing it intentionally and creating what you intended to create in the cup, that's latter art. That can take the form of a monk's head, a very basic form or just really nice textured marble surface.
Getting on into some more intricate design, the next stage for the briefs that will be free pour latte art which means that as you create a drink, as you're pouring milk in to an espresso, you can manipulate the way the milk pours out into various shapes in various combinations. So, from a monk's head or a marbled surface to pulling in into a heart or creating a rippled pattern like a leaf or layering hearts on top of one another to make a tulip, this all happens in the course of filling up the beverage just to make the drink before you hand it off, there are no tools involved, there are no powders or sauces involved in free pour latte art.
And it really is possibly the most, its a working baristas craft, you're not degrading a drink by setting it down and then taking more time to etch it because a drink really should be delivered as quickly as possible to the customer so they can decide if they want to let it sit and separate or they want to drink it immediately and get a nice combination of foam and milk.
So the next stage would be etching or any sorts of manipulation post pour. So you can pour a drink, maybe you pour a dot in the middle and then set the drink down and get tools out to manipulate that. These can be very beautiful but it tends to be art for art's sake and not so much a garnish or a method of plating.
And again, it does take a little more time, so that's the time your customer is waiting and the time the milk is sitting on the counter both cooling and separating.
So again, it can be great if you can do it quickly, it can be just as valid, but largely, baristas would pour free pour before they would do etching and then etching maybe for something special like, for mom and dad.