Smell the Coffee

Becka Dowding, head barista at Dooby’s Coffee in Mt. Vernon, shares her tips and tricks for staying warm by making latte art and pour-over coffee at home.


–Illustrations by Lauren Giordano

Whole Latte Love

To make your own latte art at home, it’s important to start with whole milk because the fats create a velvety texture. Also, when steaming milk, hold the pitcher at an angle to create a swirl.

  1. Tilt your cup to one side so that, when you start pouring your steamed milk, it goes underneath the espresso.
  2. Once your cup is about 3/4-full, you begin to see the milk form a blob on top of the espresso. Pour slowly until the single blob gets larger.
  3. Once you get toward the top of the cup, lift the pitcher up and push it through the blob of milk, creating the indent of the heart.
  4. Remember to hold the handle throughout the entire process, so that you’re not touching the parts of the mug from which people will be drinking. Enjoy!

Tools of the Trade


  • Kettle
    Dowding says a good kettle is key and recommends a Bona Vita kettle, which is affordable and has a narrow spout so water doesn’t get dumped all at once.

  • Digital Timer
    The most accurate way to make home-brew coffee so you’re not just guessing.

  • Grinder
    A burrs grinder allows you to grind your beans more consistently and won’t dull as fast as a blade grinder.

  • Espresso Machine
    Dowding recommends this Rancilio Silvia V3 for its reasonable price and ability to pour the perfect shot and achieve foamy, steamed milk.

Which brewing method is right for you?

Brewing For A Few: French Press

This classic tool allows you to place coffee grounds at the bottom, hot water on the top, brew for four minutes, then plunge.

Brewing For You: Single Pour Over

Dowding recommends a v60 or Bee House coffee dripper for this method. It fits over most coffee mugs.



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