Can you make a beautiful latte? Are you an expert at frothing milk? Then you can definitely make and use a coffee stencil to raise your barista game to a new level.
A coffee stencil is a food-safe plastic stencil that you use to sprinkle cinnamon or cocoa or nutmeg onto foamed milk, recreating an image or a logo. Let’s go through how to make it and use it.
Pick your image
Use a simple, black-and-white version of your stencil. You may be tempted to use a reverse image where the dark part is on the outside and the light part is on the inside. But trust me, you’ll want to do it dark-on-light: not light-on-dark. When you do powdered sugar on a dark chocolate cake, then you can do light-on-dark.
Your image or logo should have very light level of detail. Think of it this way, would you recognize the image if it were a favicon (those little images that are on each tab of your web browser)? If not, then it has too much detail. Coffee stencils should have the same level of detail as a favicon.
Stencilize your logo or image
Go to BayStencil and make a stencil of your logo or image. You’ll get bridged cut files to use on your craft or laser cutter.
Use a craft cutter or cut by hand. Make sure to use a food-safe, washable plastic for this. For size, you’ll want the stencil to sit on the rim of the cup or glass, just above the foam but not touching the foam. You can typically stencil right up to the edge of the milk in the cup or glass, so use all the space you want. For a very simple stencil, you might like the stencil to be small and centered on the surface of the milk.
See cutting instructions for any of these methods:
- Cricut and Design Space
- Brother ScanNCut or any machine compatible with Sure Cuts a Lot
- Lightburn for any laser cutter
- Silhouette Cameo or Silhouette Portrait
- Cutting by Hand
Assemble the Stencil
Simple assembly: tape the handle to the stencil plate, and your stencil is ready to use.
Make your Coffee
Steam your milk. If using espresso, pour the espresso down the side of the glass so that it goes under the milk without making a pattern on the milk. The milk should come almost to the rim of the cup or glass, but shouldn’t go over the rim.
Then lay the stencil on the rim of the cup or glass.
It’s important for it to be close to the surface of the foam, so that the cinnamon or nutmeg or cocoa doesn’t ‘spread’ too much underneath the stencil. The closer the stencil is to the surface of the milk, the sharper the image will be.
BUT…you don’t want the stencil to touch the foam, because when you pull the stencil away the foam will come with the stencil, and you’ll mess up your image.