Learning the Basics: Milk Frothing

Learning the Basics: Milk Frothing

Milk Frothing Latte Art

Learning the Basics: Milk Frothing

5 Minute Read

 

A common question that all beginner baristas need to know is ‘What is the proper way to froth milk?’. As no latte is complete without a layer of perfectly frothed milk, milk frothing has become an integral aspect of making good coffee. While there are numerous tools that can be used to froth milk, in this guide we will be specifically talking about milk frothing using a steam wand. We believe that this is still the most commonly used method of frothing and the technique can be applicable for both at home and professional baristas. 

 

The milk frothing process can be summarised into 3 simple steps: 

  1. Pre-foaming 
  2. Foaming 
  3. Texturing  

Pre-foaming 

This step basically is the preparations that are needed to properly foam the milk. 

The steps involved include: 

  1. Preparing the milk jug by pouring cold milk into a 350ml milk jug until it is ⅓ full. 
  2. Purging the steam wand by turning it on for 3 seconds and wiping the steam wand using a clean micro-fiber cloth. This process helps remove residue stuck within the wand which prevents contamination.  

Foaming 

The foaming process is the step in which the milk is heated in order for it to be ready for  texturing. 

The steps involved include: 

  1. Position the steam wand just underneath the surface of the milk. 
  2. Once adjusted, turn on the steam to full power. A helpful indicator to know if the wand is in ideal position is a high pitched sound which sounds similar to chirping. If there are no sounds, it means that the wand is placed too low and a splattering sound means that the wand is placed too close to the surface. 
  3. Continue to foam the milk until the temperature of the milk is around 45-50 degrees. 

Milk Frothing

Texturing 

Texturing is the final step of the process and it’s function is to change the consistency of the milk in order to make it perfect for the latte. 

  1. Once the milk has reached the appropriate temperature, raise the jug up a few centimeters and position it so that the steam wand is near to the jug’s side and below the milk’s surface.
  2. Then, adjust the angle jug slightly and it would create a whirlpool-like effect inside the container. This whirlpool will break down bubbles and create denser, smoother foam.
  3. Turn the steam arm off when the milk temperature has reached 65 degrees, which is the sweet spot you should be aiming for.
  4. Finally give the jug a firm tap on the counter to break any surface bubbles and then clean the steam arm with a damp cloth.
  5. Now you are ready to add the milk to the espresso.

 

From following the processes, accuracy and attention to detail are the two characteristics needed to acquire the best results. In particular, accuracy in temperatures in each stage plays an important role in ensuring the success of each step. With consistent practice and by following these simple steps, you’ll be able to master the art of milk frothing in no time! 

 

While on the topic of milk, it’s a common fact that there are so many different variations of milk available in the market. To help you understand the differences and find the right one for you, head over to our blog Here!