Using a thermometer to gauge milk texture - or ditch it? - Page 3

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

#21: Post by DaveB »

espresso_noob23 wrote:Has anyone thought to use the thermometer and keep their hand at the bottom of the jug to calibrate your hand to the temp that corresponds to 140-145f?

Since everyone has a different pain tolerance and I assume the thickness of the metal in the jug also matters it may be a good idea to use a thermometer until you "feel" what 140-145f is on your particular milk jug and then ditch the thermometer all together and focus on the froth and milk texture.

P.s, I'm very new to the espresso game, but just a thought I had that I'm going to try out.
While I never measured with a thermometer in real time, I would steam until "too hot to touch", and then measure the temp with a digital Insta-read thermometer. This would consistently be right around 135°F. So I added 4 or 5 seconds past that point, and over a couple weeks of testing it was averaging 143°F. I'm confident anyone could easily replicate this with a minimal amount of experimenting.
Von meinem iPhone gesendet

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#22: Post by Nunas »

Another alternative, if you have a musical ear, is to go by sound. One advantage of using a thermometer is that one can set free up ones hands to do something else by setting the jug on something, adjusting the steam wand to a bit above the milk surface and to one side of the jug, and letting it rip. With the thermometer in place, it's easy to know when to stop. However, for those who are determined to ditch the thermometer, one can know with a bit of practice when the milk is ready by the sound. Practice with the thermometer, listening for the sound, and then ditch it if you like.

Yes, yes, I know :wink: , there's a detailed technique for steaming milk, and we've probably all fussed over it endlessly. However, assuming your machine will deliver good enough steam that you don't have to coax the milk to the right point, none of this is necessary. I often sit the jug on the drip tray, set the steam wand and let it do its thing. I didn't invent this technique. Check out this expert video from Dritan. ... 995977574/ And another, here ... 586097896/


#23: Post by LittleCoffee »

As others have indicated, the temperature signal given by your thermometer is quite easily reproducible pretty accurately enough by the nerve endings in your hand. While important this signal is not critical to the texture you end up with.

Meanwhile the number of seconds spent stretching the milk is very important to the final texture and also the output is very sensitive to this time.

Ditch the thermometer for a clock showing seconds and watch that like a hawk while stretching - your results will likely improve.