Introduction

Milk is an extremely important ingredient found on nearly all espresso bar menus. Especially in North America, the average coffee shop often serves more milk than coffee by volume. Learning to master milk steaming techniques will help ensure that each of your customers will have an exemplary and consistent experience.

milk steam.jpg
 

Overview

 

Lession 3.2

Overview

The first step in steaming milk, is proportioning the milk in the pitcher. Its important to only use as much milk as you will need for the beverage you are preparing.

Remember: Will will expand in the pitcher 30% – 40% while steaming.

We will use a 12oz pitcher for 6 oz and 8oz beverages

We will use a 20oz pitcher for 12oz and 16oz beverages

Portioning is a very important element for baristas to consider – Baristas should always strive to reduce waste.

 

Portion Control

Lession 3.3

Overview

At the American Barista & Coffee School we firmly believe that proper milk steaming can be done by anyone through dedicated practice and understanding of the fundamentals of preparation. This simple lesson will help you to understand the steps in the process and the effect they each have on the finished product.

Milk Steaming Work Station

 

The steam wand is controlled by either a knob or a lever. The knob rotates to open up the steam pressure. The lever will allow you to turn the steam pressure all the way on, or to pulse the steam pressure for purging.

The steam wand tip is removable for cleaning, and also gives a good reference point for how deep the wand should be below the surface of the milk when steaming.

Don’t touch the wand – most steam wands get very hot when steaming milk. To avoid burning your hand or finger, always approach and grab the wand by the black plastic grommet (if available) or with a damp towel.

Damp towel – A clean, dedicated, damp towel is an important tool for steaming milk. It should be used when purging and wiping milk residue from the steam wand. Remember, this towel is only for the steam wand.

Purging – Purging before and after steaming will remove any condensation or water from the steam wand. Consistent purging will eliminate the chance for milk to be sucked back up into the steam wand.

Milk Steaming 123

 

Milk Steaming 123 with milk

 

Technique: Milk Steaming 1,2,3

 

1. Set the position of the steam wand to an angle that points towards your toes. Start by positioning the pitcher so that the steam wand tip is submerged below the surface of the milk. Next, turn the knob or lever so the steam is all the way on.

2. With two hands on the pitcher, move the pitcher downward slightly until the steam tip breaks the surface of the milk. This step introduces air into the milk and actually creates the milk foam. Listen for a characteristic noise during this process.

3. Move the pitcher upwards just before you feel the pitcher getting warm/hot. Keeping the wand slightly off center will encourage a whirlpool motion in the milk. Once the desired temperature is reached, turn off the steam, set the pitcher on the counter, and then wipe and purge the steam wand.

LESSION 3.4

overview

In this lesson we will show some examples of errors in the steaming process. Understanding errors will help baristas correct themselves when evaluating steamed milk texture.

Improper technique

 

Not allowing enough air

Not allowing enough air to be introduced into the milk (step 2) will simply heat the milk and not create the desired milk foam. You will also hear a loud screeching sound when there is no foam to dampen the sound of the milk being heated. This will result in “no-foam milk” and you will see that the milk volume has not expanded.

Improper Technique (Too Much Foam)

 

TOO MUCH FOAM

Allowing too much air into the milk will result in excess foam. This is usually caused when a barista spends too much time stretching or introducing air into the milk (when lowering the milk pitcher in step 2). You will also hear a difference in sound when creating too much foam. You will hear a “spitter-spatter” sound when air is introduced, which means you are creating foam. The milk will also likely have visible macro bubbles and be very thick and airy.

Proper technique

 

Proper technique

The final sounds and visual of a proper steamed pitcher of milk include lowering the pitcher immediately (listening for a few brief sounds of breaking the surface) and raising the pitcher back up, and steaming the milk until it has reached the desired temperature.

 

Lesson 4: Milk, Storage, and Temperature

Processing and storage both have an impact on the quality and flavor of the milk you’re serving. In this lesson you’ll learn about the milk itself, about proper storage, and about proper handling.

Milk is made up of a few simple components including fat, protein, and sugar. Milk steaming is a simple cooking process, and understanding this will help you steam better milks for espresso drinks.

 Milk temperature is very important to understand. To meet health code requirements milk needs to be stored in a refrigerator at a temperature below 41 degrees Fahrenheit. Always use cold milk for steaming. Steam each pitcher to order, and never risk re-steaming hot milk by putting it back in the refrigerator. Cold milk will also allow more time to steam the milk before reaching the desired temperature.

The health code also requires that milk to be steamed and heated to a temperature above 135 degrees Fahrenheit. The ideal serving temperature for steamed milk ranges from 135-155 degrees. A cappuccino or latte should be ready to sip immediately upon serving. If you steam the milk hotter than 155 degrees the milk will start to taste different and will lose it’s natural sweetness.

The importance of milk preparation cannot be overstated. The milk and the way it is handled contribute to the quality of the drinks served. Milk steaming is a hands on skill and baristas must learn by practicing this technique.

LESSON 3.5

Processing and storage both have an impact on the quality and flavor of the milk you’re serving. In this lesson you’ll learn about the milk itself, about proper storage, and about proper handling.

Milk is made up of a few simple components including fat, protein, and sugar. Milk steaming is a simple cooking process, and understanding this will help you steam better milks for espresso drinks.

 Milk temperature is very important to understand. To meet health code requirements milk needs to be stored in a refrigerator at a temperature below 41 degrees Fahrenheit. Always use cold milk for steaming. Steam each pitcher to order, and never risk re-steaming hot milk by putting it back in the refrigerator. Cold milk will also allow more time to steam the milk before reaching the desired temperature.

The health code also requires that milk to be steamed and heated to a temperature above 135 degrees Fahrenheit. The ideal serving temperature for steamed milk ranges from 135-155 degrees. A cappuccino or latte should be ready to sip immediately upon serving. If you steam the milk hotter than 155 degrees the milk will start to taste different and will lose it’s natural sweetness.

The importance of milk preparation cannot be overstated. The milk and the way it is handled contribute to the quality of the drinks served. Milk steaming is a hands on skill and baristas must learn by practicing this technique.

You have now completed module 3 lessons. Next up is the exam. Make sure to review your notes and study before taking the test. Good luck!

EXAM