Coffee Frothing 101: Frothing coffee adds the final elegant touch to an latte or cappuccino but even the best baristas need a bit of practice to get it right. So here’s a how-to for latte and cappuccino froth that will make a coffee lover weep! And … I got these directions from the senior barista at my local Starbucks – and she ought to know!
Equipment For Frothing
1) First, you need a steaming wand. Quality espresso machines like the Breville 800ESXL have a steaming wand included. If not, you will need a frothing machine that is specifically for frothing. (Strange word, “frothing”, huh?)
3) You need some icy, delicious milk. But here is where the choices come in because the kind of milk depends on what you want.
* Full fat milk = tastes rich but it’s harder to froth
* Skim milk = airy and frothy, rather than rich, but it’s definitely easier to work with and best for a beginner
Milk Frothing “How To”
Your milk will roughly double in volume and a cappuccino is half milk and half espresso. So if you want one cup of cappuccino you will need 1/4 cup of milk. Pour this milk into your pitcher.
Now comes the tricky part … you use the steam wand to heat the milk and the depth is important. If you hold the wand too deep, it will scorch before it froths and scorched milk is NASTY!!! If the wand isn’t deep enough, the milk will blow out all over your counter, wall – and you.
TIP: hold the palm of your ‘other hand’ – meaning the hand that isn’t holding the wand – against the pitcher and it will be easier to tell if your liquid is overheating. You don’t want to interrupt your frothing.
Keep the tip of the frothing wand in the milk as it expands and keep it in the milk until the temp of the liquid is approximately that of your palm. When that occurs, plunge the frothing wand more deeply into the milk to allow it to quickly heat up.
It’s critical that your milk never boils!
What To Do If Your Pitcher Gets Too Hot
1. Instantly remove the wand and turn it off
2. Tap the pitcher against your counter. This will help the milk bubbles to escape and thus cool your milk.
How To Add The Milk To Your Incredible, Awesome Drink
You don’t want all froth so use a spoon with a long handle to hold back all the bubbles and pour into the milk into your cup. Then add a bit of froth, if you want, with the spoon.
According to GENUINE connoisseurs, if the frothing is done perfectly, there will be a “micro foam” that can be poured directly. I’ve never gotten that good, I must say. I have to use a spoon.
Add Some Toppings – Maybe
Cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, ginger or chocolate are delicious. Starbucks has some ginger chips during the Christmas season that are beyond marvelous. Wish they served them all year long.
For Soy Milk Lovers
Soy milk foams almost instantly, unlike cow’s milk. So it’s definitely easier to work with. My favorite Starbucks barista says that sometimes customers want soy lattes without foam and it’s really tough to pull this one off due to the richness of the soy foam.
And that, my dears, is coffee frothing 101.