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milk foaming

up your microfoaming skills

A step-by-step guide to milk foaming

If you want to become a great latte artist, of the level where your designs are shared and loved across Instagram and Pinterest, you’re going to need to up your milk foaming and microfoaming skills — to pro levels.

But how do you turn this freshly chilled liquid into that creamy, frothy milk?

Use our easy-to-follow guide to skyrocket your home barista skills and transform your caffeinated drinks from run-of-the-mill to delicious works of art.

Base Specs

Milk content: Ideally, the fuller the better
Starting temprature: Chilled straight from the fridge
Freshness: The fresher the better

Equipment

Pouring jug
Steam wand (found on your espresso maker)

Step 01.

To start, make sure you’re milk is fresh and chilled (straight from the fridge). Be aware that the older the milk, the harder it will be to get proper foam!

Pour the milk into your frothing jug up to the bottom of the pouring spout. This gives you ample room for frothing without spillage.

Step 02.

Tilt your jug at a slight angle and insert the steam wand into it just below the surface of the milk.

“Stretch” the milk by gently letting air into it by swirling the jug in a whirlpool motion. You’ll know if you’re doing it correctly if you hear a hissing sound as the milk starts to microfoam.

Step 03.

As the jug reaches body temperature, stop introducing the air and change the position of the steam wand, moving it a fraction further into the jug.

This will texture the milk by increasing the temprature without introducing more air.

Step 04.

Continue swirling the milk, and by now the hissing will have stopped.

The key here is to keep the jug slightly tilted as you texture, up until the jug becomes too hot to touch (60°C / 140°F).

Step 05.

Remove the wand from the milk and tap your jug on the countertop to pop any large bubbles. Now set it aside and let the milk rest while you prepare your espresso shot.

Barista Pro Tip for Silky Smooth and Shiny Milk

The hotter you milk, the sweeter it becomes — up to a point.

Lactose (the sweet part of milk) is perceived as five times less sweet than sugar. Heating milk increases the lactose’s solubility and hence the sweetness you taste.

Aim for milk around the 58 to 60°C / 136°F to 140°F mark. Above that, you start to denature the milk proteins and create lower-quality foam.

Matthew Perger
Wold Champoin Barista,
Australia

Step 06.

When you’re ready to pour, swirl the milk around the jug one last time to make sure it’s even in consistency.

Tap it on the counter again to remove any remaining large bubbles and create your coffee masterpeice.

And above all, have fun and enjoy your milk foaming experience.