Latte art has boomed like crazy in just the past few years. Every year at the World Latte Art Championships, we see wilder and even more mind-boggling latte art. It’s hard to comprehend how some of the most advanced patterns are created with the freepour technique – that is, using only the milk flowing out from the pitcher. No stencils, no tools, no latte art pen to shape it. Just milk, a pitcher and raw skill.
The spout is an important consideration as to the design of latte art you’re trying to pour. Round and sharp spout milk pitchers – these are the two main types. It’s just a question of which one.
Let’s break them down in the latte art lab and allow me to help you answer that today!
The 2 Types of Milk Pitcher Spouts
First up, round spout milk pitchers. This is the classic design, and is the most common type of milk pitchers. It’s found in every coffee shop out there. When you get a milk pitcher that comes with your home espresso machine combo pack, it will almost certainly be a round spout too.
Round spouts are wide, curve out gently, and allow milk to flow out at a faster rate.
Rounds spouts are the most versatile for most people. It is the most accessible type for home brewers and baristas alike. If you were to give a sharp spout pitcher to some baristas, they might not be familiar with using it, but if it were a round spout pitcher, they would absolutely be able to pour with it.
‘Sharp’ refers to the class of milk pitchers specifically designed for advanced latte art patterns. They’re used a lot more by professional latte artists and baristas, and are prized for their solid spout design and build.
Sharp spouts have straight sides that taper out to a point. They don’t have to be razor sharp – as long as it ends in a point instead of a curve, you can count it as a sharp spout.
Sharp spout pitchers come in a wider variety of colours, materials and designs. You can easily get a matte purple sharp spout pitcher or a wooden-textured pitcher with a sharp spout.
Among the most popular brands are: BaristaSwag, AdaCrew, JIBBIJUG and Barista Space. Clicking on these links will take to each company’s homepage, where you can then browse their products at your leisure. The options are endless.
The Type of Latte Art Patterns
Remember, round spouts are wider, which allows for a faster pour and flow rate. It’s a lot easier for the steamed milk to glide out.
Hence, round spouts are especially well-suited for:
- Basic, freepour patterns: solid heart, simple tulip, rosetta
- Intermediate patterns: winged tulip, rippled hearts, swan, slowsetta
Sharp spouts typically have a ‘catch’ or notch at the very tip of the spout that restricts milk flow. Even if it doesn’t have it, the sharp point it ends in is enough to force milk out in a thin, fine stream.
This better suits more advanced latte art patterns that have a higher level of detail. Because sharp spouts force a slower pour, it gives a higher degree of control over the milk coming out. The cup thus fills up less quickly, which in turn gives the latte artist more time and space to complete the design.
So, what designs are sharp spouts good for?
- Advanced freepour patterns: rabbit, seahorse, a Spartan Warrior face, etc.
- High detail patterns with fine lines: multiple rosettas, double-winged swan
Sharp spouts are tricky to get the hang of, but once you do, they’re good for all other types of latte art levels too, including all the aforementioned basic and intermediate patterns.
Which Spout Suits You Best?
I recommend round spouts to all beginners. If you’re new and just starting out in your latte art journey, get a round spout milk pitcher – hands down. No debate on that part there.
So many aspiring latte artists desire to use sharp spouts to jump to advanced hummingbird and pegasus patterns, yet they neglect the basics. Don’t do this.
Round spouts are great because they give you a gentle learning curve. It builds the foundation for everything, including grip style, pouring movements and hand placement. These are critical in developing your pour.
Can you pour a heart, a tulip and a rosetta well? Once you have gotten the hang of these basic patterns, then go for it! A sharp spout milk pitcher will be your bestie.
If you wanna progress to more advanced patterns with a high level of freepour drawing, a sharp spout will prove invaluable to refining you patterns. You’ll level up real quick!
I do not recommend sharp spouts for absolute beginners. It just adds an unnecessary layer of difficulty. Why make things hard for you when you’ve not even started? You’re more likely to call it quits halfway through. I say stack the odds in your favour – make it fun and epic to practice latte art!
If you’re at that transition phase, where you’re swapping out a regular round spout pitcher for your first sharp spout milk pitcher, it will be hard! It’ll feel like you’re relearning latte art and basic pouring all over again.
Grit your teeth and stick to it.
Use your sharp spout pitcher and go back to practice pouring hearts and tulips again. A week or two later, you’ll find you’ve gotten the hang of it, and then you’ll settle in comfortably.
Also, when buying a milk pitcher, please, please make sure the spout is straight and symmetrical! It should be aligned dead center with the handle. If the spout is crooked, your pours will keep ending up lopsided and you’ll wanna tear your hair out.
Now go unleash some latte art creativity!