Video:How to Steam Milkwith Amanda Byron
If you want to make a great latte or cappuccino, you will need perfectly steamed milk. See our tips for foaming milk so you get a delicious, velvety texture in your coffee drinks.See Transcript
Transcript:How to Steam MilkHi. I’m Amanda Byron from Joe in Manhattan, here today for About.com. Today, I’m going to show you how to steam milk to make a latte.
Equipment for Steaming MilkThe first thing you want to start with is a steaming pitcher. And really, really cold milk. You can use any kind of milk whole milk, 2 percent, 1 percent anything that you prefer.
Add Milk to Foaming PitcherI’m going to start by putting my really cold milk into my frothing pitcher and for a 12 ounce latte, which is a traditional size latte, I fill my milk to just below the spout, about a quarter to half an inch below the spout.
Grind CoffeeThe first thing to making a latte is pulling a shot of espresso. Remove your portafilter from your machine and wipe it dry and clean. Then grind your coffee directly into the porta filter.
Distribute Coffee EvenlyI’m going to distribute my coffee in the portafilter so that my puck is as even as possible. Since water is lazy it’s going to take the path of least resistance. So I want this to be as even as possible. Then take your tamper and press down on the coffee with about 30 pounds of pressure. Making sure that your arm is totally perpendicular so as not to hurt your wrist. After pressing it with my 30 pounds I just give it a little bit of a twist to release the tamper, and I’m left with a perfect puck of coffee.
Pull the Espresso ShotThen I want to activate my group head just for a few seconds to flush any grounds that might be stuck up there. And also to bring my group head back up to its proper brewing temperature. And start pulling your shot into your cup.
Insert Steaming Wand Into MilkAt the same time I start my shot I’m going to start steaming my milk so that they end at the same time. Insert the wand about a half an inch into the milk. You want it close to the surface so that you can pull it away quickly. If it’s too deep you won’t be able to add enough air into the milk. If it’s too high you’re going to end up spraying milk all over yourself.
Heat Milk to 150 DegreesTurn your steam wand onto full power. And you want to add a couple of spurts of air at the beginning to about three. And now I have my hand on the bottom of the pitcher. When the bottom of the pitcher is too hot to touch with the palm of my hand it’s steamed to the appropriate temperature, which is about 150 to 160 degrees.
Steaming Milk for LattesMilk is steamed perfectly for a latte when the top of it looks like wet paint. You don’t want your milk to be too foamy because the large bubbles don’t capture any coffee flavor. And then all I’m going to do is fold my milk into my espresso.
Steaming Milk for CappuccinosSo, here’s how you steam milk for a cappuccino. The main difference between your latte milk and your cappuccino milk is the cappuccino milk is going to be stretched out much more. And the end result is that a latte is a heavier drink than a cappuccino and a cappuccino has that sort of velvety foam going all the way through the drink. Whereas a latte is more steamed milk. The main difference is that in the beginning I’m going to add more air and stretch the milk out a little bit further. When it reaches about 100 degrees I want to submerge the wand.
Pull Cappuccino ShotThe first thing I want to do is pull my espresso shot. Knock out your old puck if there’s one in there. Make sure your ports filter is totally dry and clean of any grounds. If there's any grounds left in there they’re going to become over extracted coffee and not taste good in the cup. Then grind your coffee directly into the portafilter and give it a little tap and then I’m just using circular motion to make sure that my puck is as even as possible.
Then I come in with my tamper and make sure my angle is at ninety degrees and by pushing down with 30 pounds of pressure. Give it a little bit of a twist. Release. And I have the perfect puck of espresso. Activate your group head for a few seconds just to make sure there aren’t any grounds left up there and also to bring your group head back up to the proper brewing temperature. Then start your shot.
At the same time I’m going to start steaming my milk. So, I’ve inserted the wand just about half an inch in. I’m stretching the milk out. As soon as it’s too hot on the bottom I’m going to turn it off.
Knock Out BubblesIf I notice any large bubbles I can knock them on the counter to knock those out and then, I’m just folding the milk into my espresso.
Introducing the Correct Amount of AirThe key to steaming milk properly for a latte or for a cappuccino is to make sure that you’re introducing the correct amount of air. Too much air and you’re going to have large bubbles which don’t transfer flavor very well. And too little and you’re going to have really thin milk without that lovely microfoam on top.
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