Brew Guide - Milk
The goal of proper milk preparation is to create perfect microfoam. This finely textured milk is smooth, fluid, and blends perfectly with well-prepared espresso. Ideal microfoam should have the semi-gloss appearance of wet paint, and should be smooth and sweet, with no graininess, or visible bubbles.
- Dose the appropriate amount of milk for the beverage(s) you are about to prepare.
- Purge the steam wand of water by:
- Covering the end of the wand with your cloth, keeping hands clear of holes.
- Turning on the steam wand until only steam comes out.
- Start with your steam wand positioned as such:
- Tip of the wand (including holes) just beneath the milk surface.
- Tip of the wand positioned off-centre, but not touching the side of the pitcher.
- Turn the steam wand on full, and place your hand on the side of the pitcher.
- Add air:
- Skim the surface of the milk, keeping the holes tightly positioned at the surface.
- Clean, crisp sounds (paper ripping, or whispering).
- Create a vortex.
- At 40 °C, stop adding air:
- This will be at the point that you start to feel heat; the pitcher is no longer cold.
- Slightly raise the pitcher so that the holes are fully submerged.
- Continue the vortex.
- At 60°C, turn off the steam wand:
- This will be at the point that you cannot hold your hand on the side of the pitcher.
- Immediately wipe the end of the steam wand, and purge milk using the same method as step 2.
- Swirl the milk to polish and integrate, until the moment you are ready to pour.
– Refrigerate pitchers when not in use. This will extend the amount of time you have to integrate air.
– Match pitcher size to drink size to make proper texturing easier.
– Prepare milk and espresso simultaneously to ensure the freshness and quality of both.
– If milk is too aerated, a quick pour off the side of the pitcher will thin it.
– DO NOT re-steam milk.
Alternative milk preparation:
While whole milk is ideal for creating microfoam, the same effect can be achieved with alternate milks. See the Glossary for tips on alternate milk steaming.