Coffee is one of those drinks that is enjoyed by people around the world. What makes this magical drink more appealing is the numerous ways it can be prepared with and the variety of coffee beans and added milk and cream, it’s a separate delicacy on its own. But making that perfect cup of coffee is an art that requires skill, the right kind of ingredients and takes time to learn. No wonder there are coffee machines specially designed to brew versatile types to suit different tastes. There are disagreements on which ones are the best, such as the Nespresso Pixie vs Nespresso Inissia running debate.
One key ingredient in any coffee drink, unless it’s black, is steamed milk. Usually one would not worry about this step but steaming milk is not easy as it seems. Trying to prepare it at home like your local barista is not much of a possible game but there are a few tips and tricks that might be of help.
Know the steps
Steaming milk for coffee has two necessary stages. The first one is aerating, also known as stretching and the second stage is emulsifying, which in simpler words means texturing. Both steps need to be performed correctly in order to come up with rich, velvety milk for your desired coffee.
The actual method
For this step, use a steam wand to create a whirlpool in the milk as this will lock air onto the surface and mix it with the milk. Once this is done, take the steam-wand deep inside the milk and mix it more to create texture.
The need for texture depends on the type of coffee you’re having. For example, lattes require a little amount of foam whereas cappuccinos need rich foamy milk for that authentic taste.
Do it yourself
If you own a DeLonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica or another expensive coffee machine, and still can’t figure out how to correctly steam milk, there’s a rather simple way to make a creamy smooth cup of steamed milk at home. Just grab a pitcher and fill it around half full with cold milk.
Turn on the steam wand, let it run on its own for a few seconds. This will allow wand to heat up and get rid of any residue caught in the tip. Hold the wand at a 15 degree angle from your Breville BES870XL Barista Express espresso machine and slightly away from the center of the pitcher over the surface of the milk.
Aerate and texturize the milk following the method stated above. You will witness volume increase in the milk as it stretches. When the volume reaches around 50% take it into the milk and let it mix and create a flat whirlpool without letting the volume increase any further.
When the milk has reached required temperature, ideally between 120 F / 49 C and 140 F / 60 C, turn off the steam valve and you have yourself ready a fine cup of steamed milk.