Froth fanatic? Find out how to steam milk for your favourite coffee drink!
Fan of frothy coffees? Love a latte or think cappuccinos are cool? Want to make them at home on your coffee machine? Let’s do it!
Milk steaming doesn’t need to be scary. Just follow our simple step-by-step guide, and you’ll be whipping up whippy drinks in no time!
And having a mighty lot of fun in the process… ?
The Steam Wand
See that long metal thing on your machine? The arm you can pull out and tilt? That’s the steam wand. It’s your frothy friend.
You use this nifty gadget to:
- Heat cold milk
- Steam the milk to create a lush, foamy texture
Most steam wands consist of a metal ‘arm’ with a tip or nozzle on the end. The tip has holes in it, where steam shoots out at high pressures to froth your milk. The wand will also have a rubber insulation grip so you can tilt it without burning your fingers, plus an ON button or knob for you to, errr, turn it on.
This type of steam wand is called a pin-hole wand. Pannarello wands are the other sort. They have one large hole rather than multiple tiny ones. You tend to find them on beginner machines or cheaper models.
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How To Steam Milk on a Coffee Machine
You’ve got the coffee and said hi to the steam wand. So, let’s dive in!
Here’s your failsafe How to Steam Milk guide…
- Grab a stainless steel jug and add your milk. You want to add enough milk so that it comes up to the base of the spout.
- Purge the steam wand to remove condensation or other unwanted stuff from the tip.
- Slide the wand down the jug spout so the tip is just below the surface of the milk and the wand is resting in the spout.
- Tilt the jug slightly to one side.
- Turn the wand on to full power. Don’t be tempted to increase the pressure gradually – you want to go to full straight away!
- Bring the tip right to the surface of the milk. Now, the milk will make a slurping noise and start to spin.
- ‘Stretch’ the milk so you have enough foam for the coffee drink you want to make.
- To stop the process, raise the jug slightly and let the milk churn in a whirlpool. Turn the wand off when the jug is too hot to touch for more than a second.
- Slide the wand out.
- Wipe the wand and purge again.
- Tap the milk on a flat surface to burst any large air bubbles, then swirl it around so it becomes glossy.
- Use your frothed milk in your fave coffee!
How to Steam Milk for Latte and Friends!
Smashed the milk steaming technique? Groovy. Now, try tailoring your steam for different espresso-based drinks. It’s the way to really take your joe to the next level!
Generally, we keep milk in the stretching phase for 5-10 seconds. But we can also adapt this to create the right texture and amount of foam for different drinks. Here’s the juicy details…
Steam your milk for around eight seconds so that you increase its volume by 20-30%.
Steam for around 10 seconds to create 50-80% more volume.
A smaller, thinner microfoam is needed here, so you just want to steam for three-to-four seconds.
Best Milk for Frothing
Master milk types to make the perfect frothy coffee for you!
Our first top tip is to use the freshest milk you can because fresher milk foams easier. Is it near its sell-by? Don’t ditch it – have a big bowl of cereal instead! Nom nom.
Whole milk is, on the whole (haha), the best milk for frothing. Its high fat and protein contents will give your foam a thick, creamy consistency and oodles more body. It’s not all gloom and doom for skimmed/semi-skimmed milk, though. These types of milk tend to give a light foam with lots of big bubbles, so are pretty good for cappuccinos. However, your drink won’t be as rich or sweet as a coffee made with whole milk.
Want to know the best plant-based milk for frothing? Try oat or soya, and always go for the barista additions if you can.
Awesome! Now you know how to steam milk on your espresso machine. Why not read up on your frothy cappuccino while you put your feet up?
How many shots should a cappuccino REALLY have??