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. Your practice with milk is essential. But you should know that the kind of milk that you use matters. This is especially true with the coffee roasting profile you will be using. Some milk just goes better with certain types of coffee profile.
For the meantime, let’s briefly discuss your goals with steaming milk as a barista:
- 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!)
- Heat the milk to a temperature range of about °150 degrees (or about 66° C to about 70° C)
- Time everything so that your espresso shot and your milk is steamed at about the same time.
- 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)
Be a great barista: 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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