Tuesday, September 11, 2012

How to effortlessly steam milk using only one hand

Latte art

One of the things that seem to bring the most headaches to people when first taking their new machines out for a spin is how to steam the milk and create that smooth microfoam used for latte art. I have tried a lot of different techniques and made a lot of mess trying to perfect my microfoam.
But for a couple of months ago I stumbled upon a technique described on home-barista.com by Koffee Kosmos that simplifies the process to only a few steps. Unfortunately the method only seems to work with machines with high steam output, like heat exchangers and larger dual boilers. The technique is as follows:

  • Purge water from steam wand 
  • Use a loose hand not stiff 
  • At first use 300 ml jug and fill with cold milk to just under the lower part of pour spout 
  • Place wand just under milk in the middle of jug at 90 deg (no angle) and only give it air in the first second no more and then just keep wand under the surface 
  • Important - turn on steam knob to "full steam strength” 
  • Allow steam to do the work and when milk starts to foam keep wand at 90 deg but move jug to one side until the steam wand hits the side of jug 
  • This all happens in about 10 to 15seconds and before you know it you have micro-foam 

The technique is pretty simple, but I have been too lazy to actually hold the jug while steaming, so I have made the technique even more simple - behold, the one handed steaming technique! To show you I have made a short video. Although it's pretty difficult filming, steaming and pouring latte art at the same time, I hope you get the picture. It might not be perfect microfoam, but for my everyday cappuccino, it's close enough.