Barista Training: The Subject of Steaming Milk

Barista Training:
The Subject of Steaming Milk

Milk is the second most important ingredient to most espresso-based drinks. Learning how to appropriate steam and pour milk will be an important piece of your education as a barista.

Learning about how to steam milk as a barista, will be important. To be sure, it takes practice. To be sure, you will get that practice.

For the meantime, let’s briefly discuss your goals with steaming milk as a barista:

  1. You only want to use enough milk that you will need for your drink. (This will eliminate waste and a very poor tasting drink in the future!)
  2. Heat the milk to a temperature range of about °150 degrees (or about 66° C to about 70° C)
  3. Time everything so that your espresso shot and your milk is steamed at about the same time.
  4. You will want to serve the drinks in a timely manner.

You certainly don’t want to serve your espresso-based and steamed coffee after the milk and espresso has separated.

So what does a good steamed milk look like? There are a few basic steps as a barista that you can do to create really well-steamed milk.

When it comes to steamed milk, you should create a tight micro-bubble structure. This means that that milk should be smooth and look like smooth paint.

As a barista you will aerate the milk.

You should do so in an appropriate size pitcher, preferably using the smallest pitcher appropriate to house the right amount of milk.

6oz Cappuccino – 12oz pitcher filled ⅓ full (roughly 4oz of cold milk)

8oz Latte – 12oz pitcher filled ½ full (roughly 5-6oz of cold milk)

12oz Latte – 20oz pitcher filled ⅓ full (roughly 7-8oz of cold milk)

16oz Latte – 20oz pitcher filled ½ full (roughly 10oz of cold milk)

How to steam milk

  • The first thing you want to do when you begin to steam your milk is purge your wand of any condensed water.
  • Place the wand just underneath the milk at an angle. The steam wand should be roughly about 30° from a vertical stance.
  • Open the steam wand to near full pressure (less depending on the type of drink).
  • Begin frothing the milk in a whirlpool motion until the pitcher gets a bit too hot to touch.
  • The ideal serving temperature for steamed milk ranges from 135-155 degrees. Cappuccino or latte are supposed to be sipped right after being served
  • Wipe the wand and purge

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