Trouble Steaming 2% Milk

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

#1: Post by blutch »

I'm a beginner and I started by steaming whole milk. It seemed to work just like the videos and I was getting decent microfoam. Then I read you can just as easily use 2% milk and even non-milk milks like oat milk. They said it was a "little more challenging" but totally doable. I have not been able to get foam at all with 2%. After about 10-15 seconds of steaming, I get this VERY loud screeching sound and way too much roil in the milk no matter where the tip of the wand is. Once the milk is hot, it is just hot and not foamy at all.

I don't mind going back to whole milk, but if it is possible to get good foam with 2% I'd love to have some tips on how to do it. Thanks



#2: Post by jgood »

Haven't had that experience with 2% milk -- seems about the same as whole, in terms of steaming but occasionally I have gotten milk that's not "steaming friendly". Perhaps try a different brand of 2% ?


#3: Post by tennisman03110 replying to jgood »

I second this. Whole milk and 2% should be interchangeable, for the most part.

My caution is you should get comfortable with whole milk first. "Decent" means something different to everyone. If you are still learning and improving with whole milk, the lower fat content of 2% adds a secondary challenge.

blutch (original poster)

#4: Post by blutch (original poster) replying to tennisman03110 »

I get that, but no one ever says what that "secondary challenge" is... I'm not getting ANY foam with it. I've made probably 15 milk drinks with it and no foam and I always get that high pitched screechy sound. I never got that sound with whole milk and always had foam. I will try a different brand of 2% and see if that changes things. Thanks!


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#5: Post by Nunas »

I think you are on the right path by changing brands to see what happens. There are several threads where this has been discussed. First, a few brands in some countries simply will not foam. Second, In some other cases, the lack of foam is a seasonal problem. I've experienced both.

As for what's easier, in my opinion, the higher the fat content, the harder it is to foam milk. That said, I've foamed everything from skim to half and half with some degree of success. I find that, once foamed, regular whole milk seems to hold the foam better than skim, and it has a better mouth feel in the beverage.

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#6: Post by keno »

Check out this YouTube video for a really good approach to milk steaming by a former World Latte Art Champion.

blutch (original poster)

#7: Post by blutch (original poster) »

keno wrote:Check out this YouTube video for a really good approach to milk steaming by a former World Latte Art Champion.

Thanks. I have watched this multiple times. Can't get it to work with my 2%. I will be trying another brand asap!



#8: Post by new2espresso »

I have no trouble all the way down to skim milk so I suspect you may have a bad batch. There was a post on here about some batches of milk having an enzyme which inhibits good steaming, perhaps that may be your problem?
Kind regards,

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#9: Post by yakster »

I believe that a loud screeching sound means that you don't have the tip deep enough in the surface of the milk. Try with the tip a little bit more into the milk when you start.

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#10: Post by Nunas replying to yakster »

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