Steps in this Video:
- Fill the metal milk pitched about 1/3 full of fresh cold milk (the colder and fresher, the better)
- Turn on the steam wand so that it produces a stream of hot steam
- Place the steam wand tip into the milk just below the surface until you hear a “hush” sound
- Ensure that the wand is angled to create a whirlpool effect in the milk
- About half way to the desired temperature (~160°F), drop the tip down into the center of the milk for about 15 seconds
- Finish by moving the tip back up into the first position until the temperature is reached
- Turn off the steam wand and remove the metal pitcher
- If there are any visible bubbles, tap the pitcher on a hard surface a couple times to pop them
- Place the wand tip just below the surface of the milk for the majority of the frothing time. The steam will make a mild “hush” sound as the steam produces tiny air bubbles in the milk. The tip should be slightly submerged so that it does not create large visible bubbles or splatter. The proper position will create good microfoam.
- Place the wand tip down into the center of the milk about half way through the process for about 15 seconds. This helps to heat the milk and stir the microfoam throughout the milk so that it is of a more even consistency.
- Throughout the process, the wand should be angled against the milk so that it creates a whirlpool effect, swirling the milk around in one direction.
Microfoam is the result of an ideal froth where the milk turns into a rich, velvet texture and there are no visible bubbles. Texturing milk takes practice, but it is not a complicated process. Every machine is slightly different, and we will be using the Barista Express in this video to teach good technique.
Espresso drinks with milk are more common in the United States than anywhere else in the world.
When learning, it’s best to use a thermometer to watch the temperature rise as the milk is heated by the steam wand. Once you’ve become proficient, you may be able to get away with reading the appropriate temperature by touch and heat. The milk should be heated to about 160°F (70°C) – too hot and the proteins in the milk can be destroyed by the heat. (See the thermometer I use from Amazon)
Stretching The Milk
When frothing milk, you are doing two things at the same time: heating, and stretching. Stretching milk increases its volume by introducing tiny air bubbles. The volume can increase up to about 50%. Stretching occurs when the tip of the steam wand is held close to the top of the milk in the pitcher. Heating occurs when the tip is moved down into the center of the milk.
Where to Place the Wand Tip
Milk Frothing Thermometer