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Always start with a cold, clean steaming pitcher.
Purge the steam wand. This is a quick motion to release any moisture that has condensed in the steam wand and cooler.
Submerge the tip of the steam wand just below the surface of the milk.
Make sure to hold the pitcher in one hand and use your other hand to turn the steam on and off, as well as feeling for temperature.
Turn the steam on full power.
Lower the pitcher until the tip of the wand is just ‘kissing’ the surface of the milk and you hear a hissing/ripping sound. The milk should be spinning in a whirlpool motion. At this point you are introducing air to the milk to “texturise it” ie create foam.
Continue to texturising until the pitcher feels warm to the heel of your hand (~70℉) then raise the pitcher just enough to submerge the tip of the steam wand and you no longer hear the hissing sound.
At this point the milk should be quiet and spinning in a whirlpool motion, this blends the foam with the milk for a homogenous pour.
Continue to heat the milk until you feel a pinch against the heel of your hand (about 140℉) then quickly turn off the steam wand.
Place the pitcher on the counter and promptly wipe the wand with a towel to clean away milk build up. Purge the wand again to remove any milk residue that may have been sucked inside.
To remove any larger bubbles that may be on the surface of the milk, gently tap the pitcher against the counter. Swirl the milk in the pitcher to blend the milk and foam together for a smooth pour.
Correctly steamed milk should have a shiny, velvety appearance. It should stick to the sides of the pitcher when swirled. There should be no big bubbles.
Now, have some fun and work on that latte art!
*Helpful hint: Milks with a higher fat content i.e. 2% and 3.5% will provide you with a better chance of latte art compared to a thin, non fat or almond milk.