Learning the art of frothing milk is a skill baristas master over time thorugh dedicated attention and practice. It is one of the more difficult barista skills, simply because there are distinct stages the milk goes through when steaming and they usually happen in less than 60 seconds. For that silky smooth milk, with just the right amount of micro-foam, there are three keys things to focus on:
Stretching the milk adds small air bubbles to the milk creating the desired foam for the drinks. The type of foam you want is known as micro-foam, which should be silky smooth with no visible bubbles. As you bring the wand to the surface of the milk to stretch it, a gentle ‘kissing’ noise is heard. The stretching phase should be completed by the time the temperature reaches 40 degrees.
Once the milk has been correctly stretched, the milk is then texturised by placing the nozzle of the steam wand under the surface and creating a whirlpool motion.This thickens the milk up, giving it a smooth creamy texture.
Important Note: Keep the wand to the side of the jug to get the whirlpool affect and don’t let the wand touch the bottom!
Serving temperature for different milks:
-Full cream and skim milk is served at 65 degrees.
-Soy, macadamia, almond milk and other alternative milks are served at 60 degrees.
Tips For Frothing Milk
- It’s important to NEVER reheat milk. During the heating phase we caramelise the sugars and break down the protein in the milk. If you reheat it the flavour will change as the sugars become burnt and the foam will become bubbly or ‘fluffy’, rather than smooth and dense.
- Avoid angles! Keeping both the steam wand the milk jug straight will help achieve micro foam.
- Keep the wand close to the side of the jug.
- Don’t submerge the wand to the bottom of the jug.