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steaming milk
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Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > steaming milk  
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jneff28
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Posted Thu May 24, 2012, 5:17am
Subject: steaming milk
 

Having trouble steaming milk. Not getting consistant microfoam then when I pour its either hot milk or a huge glob of foam? I am making lattes but maybe not sure how much milk I should be using? 5oz for a double? using a Silvano by the way. Any good links or videos would be appreciated!
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emradguy
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emradguy
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Posted Thu May 24, 2012, 9:12am
Subject: Re: steaming milk
 

sorry I don't have links to any good videos.  I had this down pat with my Silvia, but am actually still working on it with my Duetto.  

There are a few factors to consider before being able to answer your question...
1) Do you have the articulating wand?
2) What tip do you have on the wand?
3) what kind of pitcher are you using?
4) what volume pitcher are you using?
5) Are you using a thermometer, or "hands-on" technique?
6) have you read the CG guide on milk frothing?
7) Is there any chance you can post a video of your technique for critique (I still have to do mine for the Duetto)?

Also, consider reading the guide to stretching milk on www.espressomyespresso.com (in the how-to section).  I just went through it again yesterday, and it's really good.  Lots of good details to help you understand the process and Randy pays close attention to trying to describe the (nearly indescribable) cues.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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frcn
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Posted Thu May 24, 2012, 10:28am
Subject: Re: steaming milk
 

This is an excellent video:
How to steam milk for Latte art taught by Scott Rao using soap and water - YouTube

The quality of the milk has a lot to do with it as well. Good microfoam is created by the relationship of the fat and the proteins in the milk. When all else fails, try another milk. Even the feed the cows get has an effect.

As you are learning, there is also a fine line between enough air and too much.

With you hand on the side of the pitcher, add air GENTLY and in controlled amounts until the pitcher just gets a bit warm. The stop adding air and get a good swirl going. Doesn't matter much if the swirl in vertical (best with multiple hole tips), or whirlpool-style (best with single hole tips). When the pitcher approaches uncomfortably warm on your hand, turn off the steam.

 
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sherpakid
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Posted Thu May 24, 2012, 12:14pm
Subject: Re: steaming milk
 

Read This

 
www.nobletreecoffee.com
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jneff28
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Posted Tue May 29, 2012, 6:00pm
Subject: Re: steaming milk
 

emradguy Said:

sorry I don't have links to any good videos.  I had this down pat with my Silvia, but am actually still working on it with my Duetto.  

There are a few factors to consider before being able to answer your question...
1) Do you have the articulating wand?
2) What tip do you have on the wand?
3) what kind of pitcher are you using?
4) what volume pitcher are you using?
5) Are you using a thermometer, or "hands-on" technique?
6) have you read the CG guide on milk frothing?
7) Is there any chance you can post a video of your technique for critique (I still have to do mine for the Duetto)?

Also, consider reading the guide to stretching milk on www.espressomyespresso.com (in the how-to section).  I just went through it again yesterday, and it's really good.  Lots of good details to help you understand the process and Randy pays close attention to trying to describe the (nearly indescribable) cues.

Posted May 24, 2012 link

Yes, I have an articulator
Single hole tip
using a "standard 12oz steaming pitcher
hands on, when its too hot to touch I submerge wand
I have read a few guides and watched video.

it always looks good when done, glassy smooth, but when I pour it goes straight to the bottom of cup until towards the end of the pour when the glob of foam is left, I use around 5 oz of milk when steaming.
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jneff28
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Joined: 7 Apr 2007
Posts: 69
Location: Illinois
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Silvia
Grinder: Maestro, Rocky
Drip: Press, quisinart
Roaster: Intelligentsia
Posted Tue May 29, 2012, 6:02pm
Subject: Re: steaming milk
 

frcn Said:

This is an excellent video:
How to steam milk for Latte art taught by Scott Rao using soap and water - YouTube

The quality of the milk has a lot to do with it as well. Good microfoam is created by the relationship of the fat and the proteins in the milk. When all else fails, try another milk. Even the feed the cows get has an effect.

As you are learning, there is also a fine line between enough air and too much.

With you hand on the side of the pitcher, add air GENTLY and in controlled amounts until the pitcher just gets a bit warm. The stop adding air and get a good swirl going. Doesn't matter much if the swirl in vertical (best with multiple hole tips), or whirlpool-style (best with single hole tips). When the pitcher approaches uncomfortably warm on your hand, turn off the steam.

Posted May 24, 2012 link

maybe I am steaming for too long and getting too much foam. Pitcher is usually HOT when I am done then I submerge to swirl. I always end up with a monster glob of foam in the middle of the cup
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jneff28
Senior Member


Joined: 7 Apr 2007
Posts: 69
Location: Illinois
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Silvia
Grinder: Maestro, Rocky
Drip: Press, quisinart
Roaster: Intelligentsia
Posted Tue May 29, 2012, 6:13pm
Subject: Re: steaming milk
 

frcn Said:

This is an excellent video:
How to steam milk for Latte art taught by Scott Rao using soap and water - YouTube

The quality of the milk has a lot to do with it as well. Good microfoam is created by the relationship of the fat and the proteins in the milk. When all else fails, try another milk. Even the feed the cows get has an effect.

As you are learning, there is also a fine line between enough air and too much.

With you hand on the side of the pitcher, add air GENTLY and in controlled amounts until the pitcher just gets a bit warm. The stop adding air and get a good swirl going. Doesn't matter much if the swirl in vertical (best with multiple hole tips), or whirlpool-style (best with single hole tips). When the pitcher approaches uncomfortably warm on your hand, turn off the steam.

Posted May 24, 2012 link

wow, yes that makes it look so easy...ok im fired up now. think I can handle this. making it way too difficult. Also think I should go with a 20oz pitcher with a better spout?
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jneff28
Senior Member


Joined: 7 Apr 2007
Posts: 69
Location: Illinois
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Silvia
Grinder: Maestro, Rocky
Drip: Press, quisinart
Roaster: Intelligentsia
Posted Tue May 29, 2012, 6:19pm
Subject: Re: steaming milk
 

Also, how much milk do you steam? I guess a standard 2 shot cap or latte uses 4.5-5oz of milk? Got that from the Intelligentsia vid

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqs1HhiGHck
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emradguy
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,167
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4, Pharos,...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Wed May 30, 2012, 7:44am
Subject: Re: steaming milk
 

jneff28 Said:

hands on, when its too hot to touch I submerge wand

Posted May 29, 2012 link

Hey Josh,

You're steaming way too long, and not only likely scalding the milk, but ruining the microfoam you may already have made.  hands-on technique is only a method of replacing the thermometer inside the pitcher with your own sense of heat, and allowing you to approximate the cues by feel.

1) you haven't started frothing yet...cold milk in pitcher feels very cold on the outside and is around 35-40 degrees (depending on your refrigerator - unless you put your pitchers in the freezer).

2) you're stretching the milk...the milk is swirling in a vortex or roll in the pitcher and there's a whisper-like noise as you introduce air, but the pitcher still feels cold.

3) you're at the end of the stretch phase...skin temp is about 85 degrees (body core temp 98.6 - textbook).  Milk stretch ends at about 100 degrees (about when you begin to feel the pitcher is warm).  Most people say to stop stretching when the pitcher no longer feels cold and does not yet feel warm (that puts it at about skin temp - but remember there's a lag between heat transfer from the milk across the pitcher wall to your hand)

4) you're in the texturing phase...the vortex or roll is continuing, but you're no longer allowing air to be introduced to the milk.  The steam tip is either submerged, or it's held steady (no more pitcher lowering) just under the surface (my preferred method).  Either position needs to be accompanied by continued vortex/roll without additional introduction of air.

5) you're done and the steam needs to be shut off...the pitcher wall feels hot, possibly even too hot to hold (depends on temp wall thickness and rate of lag across it, and your skin's sensitivity to heat).  You should be around 135-145 degrees at this point. The end point will depend on how hot you like your drink and how long it's going to sit before you drink it (ie., go hotter for to-go cups).  Also, the milk temp will rise another 5-10 degrees after you stop steaming.  

If you want to train your mind/hand to feel each temp cue, you can do both hands-on and thermometer in pitcher for a while.

re, pitcher size:  the larger one may give you more waste, but it will also give you more time to interact with the milk.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,864
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
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Posted Wed May 30, 2012, 8:36am
Subject: Re: steaming milk
 

I know everyone says the "REAL" way is to use your hand.

Just what is wrong with using a thermometer? We use a pressure gauge to set the brew pressure. We use a temp gauge to set our brew temp (bar pressure in boiler), we use scales to set our dose of grounds, we use a scale to tamp on so, why is it so..... not correct to use a thermometer when steaming milk?

I DO use a thermometer. I find that it is much more accurate than my hand could ever be.

I also do not do the two step process either. I get a little foam at the start then setup a strong whirlpool and add a little air if I think it needs it. I DO have a lot of steam power though and I do steam 12 oz of milk at a time.

Sure there is a little lag in the thermometer but if you always use the same numbers for your transition points, you will get consistent results. HEY, YMMV!

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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