How to Steam Milk for Cappuccinos and Lattes [video]

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
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#1: Post by HB »

Chris Nachtrieb, owner of Chris' Coffee Service and site sponsor, asked for my feedback on a "getting started" DVD he plans on including with the equipment he sells. His son is into video production and did a good job (a lot better than my Microsoft Movie Maker videos!). I convinced him to share it publicly:

Click here for the video on youtube
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Dan Kehn

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#2: Post by Beezer »

Good video. Some background music might help spice it up a bit.

One question. I thought "stretching" and "texturizing" both referred to the first phase where air is introduced into the milk.
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#3: Post by HB (original poster) »

Beezer wrote:I thought "stretching" and "texturizing" both referred to the first phase where air is introduced into the milk.
No, everything I've read and written separates the two. For example, an excerpt from the Buyer's Guide to the Quickmill Alexia:
jesawdy wrote:Holding the pitcher tilted slightly forward towards you with the steam pushing the milk end-over-end to incorporate air works well, as depicted in the image below. The two phases of steaming, stretching and texturing, are distinguished by the depth of the tip placement in the milk which affects the amount of air introduced. In the first phase, the tip is slightly more than 1/4" below the surface.
Milk rolls along bottom
and back up other side

Jim's guide on Frothing Milk doesn't refer to texturing by name, but I like his suggestion to use your ears:
another_jim wrote:Where to put the tip: There are three zones distinguished by sound. In the first zone nearest the surface, the tip makes a bubbling noise and as it gets slightly deeper, a sucking or tearing noise. In the second intermediate zone, there is very little noise. In third zone near the bottom of the pitcher, the milk begins to roar loudly.

The tip should stay in the second, silent zone for the entire process. In order to create microfoam, position the tip at the top boundary, so you occasionally hear a sucking/tearing noise. Too much of the sucking/tearing noise and the foam will stiffen and not be micro enough. To just heat the milk after the foaming is done, position the tip near the lower boundary so you occasionally hear a roaring noise.

The milk in the pitcher should whirlpool or form a standing wave of turbulence in order to fold foam into liquid.
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#4: Post by Merlino »

I like the video very much but maybe it could be a little more clear in explaining what exactly is meant by stretching and texturizing. A voice-over could be used during the stills instead of the little text explaining the bits that you quoted from jesawdy and Jim. Especially since it's targeted at first-time users who might not have a clue about stretching and texturizing (since the two words are hardly self-explanatory).

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#5: Post by edwa »

Wait! There's still time. We need an insert shot, the camera is too far away to see the how and where of the tip placement. It's also too far away to hear the pitch change of the milk as it comes to temp - since they're not using a thermometer.

... as I sit here halfway around the world from my beloved Volante, making due with plunger coffee.

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#6: Post by Kuban111 »


Thanks for posting the video.

When I received my new vetrano just a couple of weeks ago it came with the video.
I thought it was a great extra bonus for a new vetrano owner. It shows the extra mile that a good vendor would take to help his costumers out.

Just at its basic, the video helped me out in 2 ways.

1. As a guide and starting point.

2. and more important as a new owner it helped me to establish in my
mind that good micro foam could be achieve on the vetrano.

also in the vetrano video the camera angle is a bit more on the inside of the pitcher so you can see more of what's happening with the milk.

Thanks Dan, and to Chris' Coffee for going the extra mile.
"azuca, azuca" Celia Cruz

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#7: Post by cannonfodder »

It is actually hard to get a good video of the rolling action in the pitcher. When the lighting is correct, the pitcher is washed out white. Lower light from a side works best for me, that gives the milk some contrast and shadowing as it starts to roll.

As to texturing and stretching, there is most definitely a difference. Stretching is the first phase where you are gently introducing air into the milk, texturing is where you start the vigorous rolling action. That rolling, churning milk incorporates that wonderful microfoam you just created from the top to the bottom of the pitcher. Without that, you will end up with all the microfoam sitting on top and the drink will not pour properly.

I also steam by touch and sound. There are two distinct changes in pitch when steaming. The first comes as the microfoam develops and the viscosity of the milk changes. The second pitch changes as the milk crosses that 140F threshold. No fancy thermometers or thermocouples are needed. Just listen to the milk, it will tell you when it is time to texture and time to stop.

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#8: Post by RegulatorJohnson »

heres a milk texturizing video with the PF Cam.

a bit of over stretch. i tried to get some shadows. also i made some bubbles when i pour the milk into the pitcher so you can see the bubbles get mixed in. i will be making more of these using the PF cam.
thanks for the time.

2012 BGA SW region rep. Roaster@cognoscenti LA

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#9: Post by baga »

Beautiful videos!

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#10: Post by Beezer »

I thought I'd post this video of steaming with the La Spaziale four hole steam tip on my Quickmill Anita. I'm using the tip with the smaller holes, but it still steams much faster than the stock tip. The microfoam is also very creamy and easy to make.
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