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Latte Frothing Basics
How to Make Delicious Frothed Milk

Steamed milk with a great froth is essential to a delicious cup of latte. Find the basics below to the perfect steamed milk.


Very few coffee drinkers fully understand and appreciate the fact that frothed milk is what makes a latte. Without that extra milk and foam, you are getting a plan old espresso. It does take a little practice to get the frothed milk process down, but it is all worth it when you do. Even the most capable baristas have a hard time at first.

Lets take a look at this frothing process:
1. It is best to begin with a stainless steel pitcher,
2. Some cold milk
3. Espresso machine with a steaming wand.
There are as many differing ideas about the frothing process so don't be surprised if you see it being done differently then what we will cover here.

Stainless steel is preferred for its easy maneuverability and its sturdyness but any non-plastic container will work as long as it will not melt or crack with heat. Different kinds of milk will produce different textures of foam so you have to decide on what you or your customers prefer. try sampling some different types of milk and find the one your happiest with and produces the results you want. You will find the higher fat content of milk you use the thicker or denser the froth will be plus it is a little harder to work with. Skim or non fat milk produces light, airy foam, and is probably the easiest for beginners to practice with.

How to determine how much milk is needed:
Fill the cups you plan to drink from with half the milk the drink requires. A cappuccino is half espresso and half steamed milk, so you would fill the cup one-fourth full will cold milk because steaming will cause the milk to just about double in volume. Then pour the milk in the pitcher.

Getting the steam wand process down:
It is important that the tip of the steam wand is consistently held "just below" the surface of the milk. If the wand is held too deep, the milk with scorch or boil before it froths. If it is not deep enough, it will blow the milk out of the pitcher and all over you and everything else. Keep the palm of your free hand flush on the bottom of the pitcher. This will help you monitor the temperature of the milk without interrupting the process.

Slide the pitcher away from the machine and keep the tip of the wand just under the surface as the milk expands. At this point, if the milk is about the same temperature as the palm of you hand, plunge the wand deeper into the milk to warm it up. If the pitcher feels too hot, turn off the steam and tap the pitcher against the work surface. This lets large bubbles to escape and helps cool the milk. A very important tip  is to never let the milk boil.

Using a long handled spoon to carefully hold the larger froth back, add the micro foam milk to the drink. Be careful to pour in one continuous stream. If you were unable to pour the right amount of foamed milk on the top of the drink it may become necessary to add the desired amount of froth using the spoon. If the frothing is done well, the result is a fine micro foam that can be poured directly from the pitcher without the use of a spoon mentioned above. Cinnamon, nutmeg or grated chocolate is a nice addition to any drink to spice it up and give it a great visual presentation.

 

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