History of Latte Art

Who doesn’t enjoy their latte that a little bit more when the barista goes to the trouble of adding a little heart-shaped or leaf-shaped swirl on the top of the foam? This is what’s known as latte art, and it has become an increasingly popular art form in cafes across the world in recent years. In fact, it’s pretty much standard practice for a latte or a cappuccino.

Here are a few fun facts about this art form, how it developed and how it’s done:

  • Latte art is a method of pouring steamed milk into a shot of espresso in a certain way, resulting in a pattern or design on the surface of the drink. It can also be created or embellished by simply “drawing” in the top layer of foam using a toothpick or similar implement.
  • These aforementioned methods are the two main types of latte art: free pouring (creating the pattern during the pour) and etching (using a tool to create a pattern after the pour).
  • Free pouring is far more common, and has resulted in the two most commonly seen latte art patterns —the heart shape and the rosetta, a fern-like design.
  • Latte art is made possible by the combination of the crema (which is an emulsion of coffee oil and brewed coffee) and the microfoam, which is a foam of air in milk.
  • David Schomer, the owner of Seattle’s Espresso Vivace coffee shop, is credited with bringing latte art to the forefront of coffee culture in the US.
  • Schomer credits the development of microfoam (“velvet foam” or “milk texturing”) to Jack Kelly of Seattle coffee shop Uptown Espresso in 1986.
  • Schomer worked on his technique of free-pouring the textured milk using the sides of the cup to form swirls and waves, and perfected the heart pattern by 1989. Then he saw the now popular rosetta pattern in a photo from a café in Italy in 1992, and worked for about six months perfecting the technique to create that design.
  • Today, free pouring latte art designs (such as the heart and the rosetta) have become pretty much standard practice when making drinks, and many baristas take part in international latte art competitions.

Coffee Art in OG showed its style in last year’s Organo Gold’s OGlicious Recipe Contest. In addition to fantastic coffee recipes, all the entries were compiled into a Holiday Cookbook in which proceeds go to OG’s charity – OG Cares.

Ooh-LaLa

The Ultimate Workout Boost

It’s official — gone are the days of people thinking of coffee consumption as a “vice.” Recent scientific findings indicate that coffee can help you improve your performance at the gym! According to a recent study, those who enjoyed a cup of coffee prior to their workout burned more calories than those who didn’t.

The Spanish study, which was published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, found that trained athletes who took in caffeine pre-exercise burned about 15% more calories for three hours post-exercise, compared to those who ingested a placebo.

So just how much caffeine does it take to up one’s gym performance? The dose that triggered the effect was 4.5 mg of caffeine per kilogram of body weight. For a 150-pound woman, that’s roughly 300mg of caffeine, the amount in about 12 ounces of brewed coffee, a quantity many people are already sipping each morning. The British Coffee Association was quick to support this pro-caffeine and exercise study, stating that “about two cups an hour prior to working out improves endurance will help you perform for 30% longer.”

This isn’t the first study that has demonstrated the positive effects of caffeine, which has been shown to help increase a person’s heart-rate, circulation and mental alertness— all positive things in a fitness environment.

So, why not make this new study your new motivation to hit the gym, take that walk around the lake, go on that bike ride or make it to that yoga class? Just whip up a 12 ounce cup of Rae’s Gourmet Black Coffee before you head out to really maximize your exercise performance.

Ultimate Workout Boost!

The Beneficial Brew

We’ve written before about some of the amazing health benefits of green tea — it can help with cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure, boost the immune system, promote longevity, fight against aging, improve brain function and concentration, and even help to ease anxiety. A recent study has also shown that green tea appears to boost the activity of DNA repair enzymes.

Researchers have long reported health benefits in green tea drinkers, but for this new study, Iris Benzie and her colleagues at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University monitored the activity of DNA repair enzymes in lymphocytes shortly after people drank a cup of green tea, and again after study participants had been drinking two cups of green tea each day for a week.

The team found that an enzyme (known as “hOGG1”) which is critical for fixing DNA damage from oxidation, and another enzyme that protects against such damage, were more active after the 16 study participants drank tea compared to when they drank just water.

The team also found 30 percent less DNA damage in lymphocytes 60 minutes after participants had drunk a cup of tea. According to Benzie, the finding “opens up a whole new avenue to look at the molecular mechanisms”of green tea’s effect on cells.

While only a preliminary study, these new findings again reveal that green tea is definitely beneficial, and there’s science to prove it. Thankfully, we love Organo’s Organic Green Tea so much, we don’t need science to tell us to drink more — but the data sure does help!

The Beneficial Brew

Blue Mountain Grown Coffee

Rae’s Cafe is really proud of OG’s Premium Gourmet Royal Brewed coffee product. This smooth, flavorful coffee uses hand-sorted beans grown high in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica — an area that produces some of the most sought-after coffee in the world.

Let’s take a closer look at this region, and see why it is not only a place of beauty, but home to of some of the most prized coffee beans on the planet:

  • The Blue Mountains of Jamaica are located between Kingston to the south and Port Antonio to the north. Rising to 2,300 meters (7,500 ft), they are some of the highest mountains in the Caribbean.
  • The climate of the region is cool and misty with high rainfall, and the soil is rich, with excellent drainage. This combination of climate and soil is considered to be the ideal growing conditions for coffee — which is one of the reasons why beans from this region are so highly prized.
  • Coffee beans grown in this region and at the high mountain altitude (the finest coffee here is cultivated between 2,000 and 5,000 feet above sea level) are also prized for their mild flavor and lack of bitterness, making them incredibly popular.
  • A whopping 80% of the beans from the Blue Mountains are exported to Japan.
  • Coffee production in this region is highly regulated by the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica, who certify and label all coffee grown in the region to avoid any mislabeling or counterfeit beans that could dilute the incredible reputation of coffee from the region.
  • Hagley Gap and Mavis Bank are two farming communities located in the Jamaican Blue Mountain region that rely heavily upon the area’s renowned coffee growing industry.

Here at Rae’s Cafe, we’re proud to be able to offer such fine coffee to our customers, as beans from the Blue Mountain region truly are one of the treasures of the earth. Combining this with our prized Ganoderma lucidum makes this product a brew fit for royalty. We hope you enjoy a touch of Jamaica’s finest beans every day, and experience the healthy luxury of Premium Gourmet Royal Brewed coffee.

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