Brew Guide - Milk

TEXTURISING 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.

Technique:

  1. Dose the appropriate amount of milk for the beverage(s) you are about to prepare.
  2. Purge the steam wand of water by:
    1.  Covering the end of the wand with your cloth, keeping hands clear of holes.
    2.  Turning on the steam wand until only steam comes out.
  3. Start with your steam wand positioned as such:
    1. Tip of the wand (including holes) just beneath the milk surface.
    2. Tip of the wand positioned off-centre, but not touching the side of the pitcher.
  4. Turn the steam wand on full, and place your hand on the side of the pitcher.
  5. Add air:
    1. Skim the surface of the milk, keeping the holes tightly positioned at the surface.
    2. Clean, crisp sounds (paper ripping, or whispering).
    3. Create a vortex.
  6. At 40 °C, stop adding air:
    1. This will be at the point that you start to feel heat; the pitcher is no longer cold.
    2. Slightly raise the pitcher so that the holes are fully submerged.
    3. Continue the vortex.
  7. At 60°C, turn off the steam wand:
    1. This will be at the point that you cannot hold your hand on the side of the pitcher.
  8. Immediately wipe the end of the steam wand, and purge milk using the same method as step 2.
  9. Swirl the milk to polish and integrate, until the moment you are ready to pour.

Tips:

– 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.

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