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conssavvas
Senior Member


Joined: 17 May 2014
Posts: 2
Location: Cyprus
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sat May 17, 2014, 1:17pm
Subject: Milk&Microfoam-Related Question - Warning-->Beginner(or noobie whichever).
 

Hello,

My question goes as follows:

 Can you calculate precisely how much milk is being used to make a desired amount of microfoam?  Lets say, the
amount of milk you need to make a 2.66-oz(in volume) microfoam.  Is it something you can easily estimate?

Thank you.
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emradguy
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
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Posted Sat May 17, 2014, 7:10pm
Subject: Re: Milk&Microfoam-Related Question - Warning-->Beginner(or noobie whichever).
 

You can expect your milk volume to rise between 50% and 100%. It depends mostly on your technique, so it's impossible for anyone but you to know how much of an increase you will get on average.

 
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Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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z0mbie
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z0mbie
Joined: 26 Sep 2013
Posts: 346
Location: Online
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Sat May 17, 2014, 7:54pm
Subject: Re: Milk&Microfoam-Related Question - Warning-->Beginner(or noobie whichever).
 

emradguy Said:

You can expect your milk volume to rise between 50% and 100%. It depends mostly on your technique, so it's impossible for anyone but you to know how much of an increase you will get on average.

Posted May 17, 2014 link

50% is already way too stretched.

Also, it would point out volume is no indication of correct technique, or if you even have the right texture.

For silky smooth microfoam, the three most important factors are:
1) steaming performance.
2) milk temperature.
3) starting volume.

My point of steam performance may be obvious but I'm not talking strictly power--that is only one part to good steam. The other is the steam nozzle.  And lastly is the technique, but honestly if you have the right gear, it isn't that hard.  I have seen baristas just dunk the wand all the way down a full pitcher on a La Marzocco with little to no attention or technique, and still the milk is buttery smooth after 10 seconds.  With lesser equipment, technique is important, but the least of these three points.

As for milk temperature, the colder your milk is, the tighter the bubbles, and the silkier your microfoam will be. The third point is related to milk temperature.  Steaming larger volumes means it takes longer to heat the milk. This extra time allows the steam to produce more microfoam.  Coffee shops produce excellent lattes because they steam milk for many cups at once. They never steam a single portion of milk for a latte..  Not that it isn't possible, but the latte won't be as silky (or stay silky for very long).   Stilll, with good technique, you should be able to steam 6, 4, or even 2(!) oz of milk enough to free pour a rosetta. Just don't expect the latte to be silky smooth.

Here is some things I've learned along the way:
  1. Practice.
  2. Practice.
  3. Practice.

:)   To save money, you can practice microfoaming by using very cold water and a drop of detergent rather than milk, which is very expensive to practice with. (I just learned it's $9/gallon in Hawaii! And that's the cheap stuff.).
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emradguy
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
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Posted Sat May 17, 2014, 8:20pm
Subject: Re: Milk&Microfoam-Related Question - Warning-->Beginner(or noobie whichever).
 

z0mbie Said:

50% is already way too stretched.

Posted May 17, 2014 link

An increase by 50% means you have 1 1/2 x the volume you started with. Many people talk about doubling the volume...so I don't see where you came up with a 50% increase being over stretched.

 
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z0mbie
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z0mbie
Joined: 26 Sep 2013
Posts: 346
Location: Online
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Sat May 17, 2014, 9:15pm
Subject: Re: Milk&Microfoam-Related Question - Warning-->Beginner(or noobie whichever).
 

emradguy Said:

An increase by 50% means you have 1 1/2 x the volume you started with. Many people talk about doubling the volume...so I don't see where you came up with a 50% increase being over stretched.

Posted May 17, 2014 link

um yes, I'm aware of what 50% means.  you suggested 50%-100%.. you said "people speak of doubling"  .. okay, who?  find me a Barista that says that is correct.. seriously.

Even half of that (50%, you can double check with a calculator) is too stretched.  Don't know what else to say. <shrug>. I mean, i didn't just "come up" with that.  I make lattes all the time.  I'm a pro at steaming milk. But then again, that's not saying much, it's not rocket science.

A  50% increase means a full third of the milk is air.  With that amount of air it would produce a relatively thick cream (assuming texturing technique is correct) and not flow well enough for a good free pour.  When I froth I take it up to about 25% increase in volume.. no more than that.
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emradguy
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emradguy
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Posted Sun May 18, 2014, 1:19pm
Subject: Re: Milk&Microfoam-Related Question - Warning-->Beginner(or noobie whichever).
 

How about Mark Prince? Will that work for you?

MarkPrince Said:

I'm sort of with you closer on this one, but IMO, cappuccino milk should be stretched out 75% to 100% visual volume, not 50%. And anything below 50% (like 25% or less) is latte art.

Mark

Posted March 29, 2014 link

Now, if you want to stick strictly with lattes...well, that's a different story...but the OP didn't specify his drink type...only "microfoam" which can vary in density depending on...oh, why am I telling you...since you're a pro at frothing?

 
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z0mbie
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z0mbie
Joined: 26 Sep 2013
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Location: Online
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Sun May 18, 2014, 8:13pm
Subject: Re: Milk&Microfoam-Related Question - Warning-->Beginner(or noobie whichever).
 

For cappas, sure, 100% increase is appropriate.  Yes, I was specifically talking about lattes, because when someone asks about microfoam, I assume it's for a latte.  So perhaps it's my bad for that assumption.  If I stretch milk to double volume, I'd be hard pressed to call it microfoam. It's straight up milk foam, as cappuccinos are a layered drink with a third or so of foam sitting on top of the drink. Microfoam is what you need to incorporate into the drink, nearly down to the bottom (at least for the first minute or two).  With 50% air in the mix,  it's milk foam, not microfoam.

I think we're probably on the same page but just arguing semantics..
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emradguy
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
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Posted Mon May 19, 2014, 6:43am
Subject: Re: Milk&Microfoam-Related Question - Warning-->Beginner(or noobie whichever).
 

yes, I think we're close. I should add...I never double my milk either :)

...when I was taught to froth by Heather Perry, we used microfoam of varying density for lattes and cappas...both having the air incorporated into the milk, without visible bubbles, but there was a distinct difference in how the milk behaved when you swirled the frothing pitcher...and this is where I got the understanding (initially) that you can use the term microfoam for either drink. I probably should have said something more like 30%-70%, rather than 50%-100% in my first post because, though I do recall people (besides Mark) talking about "doubling", I too find that degree overstretched.

 
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Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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conssavvas
Senior Member


Joined: 17 May 2014
Posts: 2
Location: Cyprus
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon May 19, 2014, 1:19pm
Subject: Re: Milk&Microfoam-Related Question - Warning-->Beginner(or noobie whichever).
 

Thank you both very much for your input.  It is more than I could ask for.  

What I got from it  (how I "translate" it) :

 It is plausible to precisely calculate depending on your technique
and the equipment you're using.  Also it gets easier having more milk to
work with, and the outcome is a higher quality and longer lasting
microfoam.  Moreover the smaller the amount of milk you work with
the colder it must be.  And lastly the microfoam acceptable milk-volume
increase is between 30 to 70 percent.
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,024
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Tue May 20, 2014, 8:38am
Subject: Re: Milk&Microfoam-Related Question - Warning-->Beginner(or noobie whichever).
 

I'm glad our answers help you.  I'd also recommend looking for the milk frothing guide on this site as well as the one on home-barista.com

 
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Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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