I've now tried it around 25 times and still cannot froth milk for latte art, any tips?

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.

#1: Post by yalag »

I have the Breville Dual Boiler, but before that I had the BBT and it's the same thing really. I've watched about 20 videos of tutorials online and have practised about 30 times.

I've varied my technique on each attempt. Longer/shorter stretching time. Longer/shorter vortex time. Deeper/shallower of the wand tip. More/less of the kissing sound.

No matter what variables I've tried. The texture just isn't there. I was able to get lots of foam at the top, but the bottom of the jug is always runny.

I'm using whole milk.

I'm trying to find a way to video myself so I can post it here (not really sure how other than to tape my phone to my head) but in the mean time, do you have any tips for me?


#2: Post by HH »

It's hard learning on your own. It took me about six months of pulling a couple of drinks a day before I was happy I could do a (bad) rosetta. 30 attempts really isn't very many. The closest thing I can liken it to is learning to whistle - you just have to keep practicing until you get it, it's very hard for someone to tell you how to do it, as once you have the basic theory down (which you will have if you have watched lots of videos) it really comes down to muscle memory. The best advice I can give you if you want to speed this process up is to do a hands-on latte art course or tutorial at a local roastery/coffee shop on your area, but plan for closer to 300 tries rather than 30!

yalag (original poster)

#3: Post by yalag (original poster) replying to HH »

That's good to know! Thanks! I was starting to think my brain is broken because I would literally see the person on youtube using the same machine with the same jug at the same angle for the same duration and I would still fail. Ok back to practising!


#4: Post by sungvary »

You can practice with some water and a drop of dish soap as well. It's not exactly the same but it works well and a lot less expensive than milk

yalag (original poster)

#5: Post by yalag (original poster) replying to sungvary »

I have tried it but it's difficult to practise without an ability o know if the output is going to be the right texture using water. Is there a way?

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#6: Post by Jeff »

For me, for the way I think and learn, the Sunergos video is one of the better ones. Linked at Definitive training on milk foam / latte art

With milk or dish soap, if you've got lots of big bubbles* more than a few seconds in, you probably need to adjust your technique.

I'm far from an expert, but my gut feeling is that by the time the pitcher no longer feels cold (which is before it feels warm), you should be in the "smoothing out" phase, rather than the "adding air" phase.

* "Big" here is somewhere around 5 mm or 1/4"

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#7: Post by Nunas »

I can't be of much help as I don't have your machine, but I think I know why this is such a problem for newcomers. The issue with videos showing how to texture milk is that the process is vastly different from machine to machine. The two most important variables are the steam boiler pressure and the tip (number/diameter/pattern of holes). It is all in the "pulling" phase. That is the early part where you stretch the milk up to its desired volume. On a commercial machine with 2-bar steam or greater and little to no drop-off in steam pressure during the texturing, the pull happens in only a couple of seconds. So, if you watch a video on such a machine, you'll sometimes even see the barista raise the milk to the nozzle, then inexplicably set it down and just leave it there while he goes on to do something else. The pull happens as the nozzle enters the jug; the rest of the time it's just swirling! At the opposite extreme, is a machine with a smallish boiler, and poor recovery (small heater). With this one, it takes relatively a lot of time and skill to coax the milk up to the desired level during the pull phase. Not only does the steam start at 1-bar or less, the pressure drops off quickly. The swirling or vortex phase is much less demanding. About the only tip I have there is to not "plunge" the tip to the bottom. Just lower the tip a bit, so you don't inadvertently entrain more air into the milk and strive for a vortex, or folding action in the milk through tip placement and a bit of jug tilt. The bottom line is, you need to see a video using your machine, or at least one that is similar.


#8: Post by jdrobison »

A video would really help but, in all honesty, 25 times isn't enough practice. At least in my experience, it's gonna be over a hundred before you feel like you're onto something and another hundred more before you feel you can really repeat it. Perhaps I'm slow but that's how it worked for me. Keep in mind that a pro barista froths more in a day that we froth in a year.

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#9: Post by spressomon »

Find a barista local to you that has that game down. Flip him/her $100 for one-on-one and you're golden. And you won't be wasting milk & espresso $$ anymore.

That's what I would do if I had to do it all over again.
No Espresso = Depresso


#10: Post by emradguy replying to spressomon »

I agree with this approach. Baristas don't make all that much money and would welcome the opportunity to earn a little cash on the side. If they've got their steaming and artwork down to something you're impressed with, then that indicates it's something they enjoy, so it'll be even easier to get them to agree. Also, try to get them to come to your place, so you can learn with your own gear...either that, or ask if you can bring your machine to wherever your lesson is going to be. There's nothing like learning on one machine and then going back home and struggling on your own. It's frustrating as heck, and then you blame your equipment when the problem is still you. There are plenty of BDB owners who are doing this really well. So, this is not something you can't learn without some hands-on guidance.