The physics of latte art

I love the physics of coffee. I remember listening to Andreas Illy speaking about the colloidal suspension that is coffee. “Coffee is a suspension of oil and water in an emulsion…”(paraphrased). I’m like ‘whats an emulsion?’. Hey I’m a business graduate not a scientist! But I found myself hungry for knowledge about the science of coffee… (Great links at the end). An emulsion is a fine dispersion of minute droplets of one liquid in another in which it is not soluble or miscible. The excitement I have with latte art is that it is a symphony of two emulsions coming together for a brief moment and they’re gone! The espresso coffee itself is an emulsion of water and coffee oils. The milk is an emulsion of butterfat and water. These two emulsions come together at the perfect temperature, technique and timing to produce an image – that tastes great! I love a colloidal suspension of the emulsions of butter fat, coffee oil and water – and coffee bits – any day of the week; especially when it looks great! Here are the links I promised:

1. Coffee Geek podcast – a variety of coffee podcasts. Favourite is history of espresso! 2. – a very exclusive very high quality forum on coffee that is actually up to date. 3. Science in the City Podcast


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