WHAT is the magic secret to milk steaming?

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
whitedime

#1: Post by whitedime »

Holy cow, words can't express the rage I've felt trying to steam milk. I've got an ECM classika and also a stove top steamer. I've got good turbulation of the milk but the milk never seems to thicken, it just eventually gets too hot and boils. I did have ONE successful time, and that involved me shaking up the milk carton right before steaming it. I was not able to replicate that. Some questions

- what type of milk
- how much milk to use
- how deep should the wand be
- should the wand remain at the same depth (relative to the surface) the entire time?
- how do I know when to stop

I have watched several videos online, I even tried some mustache wax, flannel overshirt, ironic T shirt, AND skinny jeans with chain wallet and those items didn't help either.

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shawndo
Supporter ◈

#2: Post by shawndo »

This post helped me:
Steaming assistance on Olympia Cremina
Still not an expert, but I get good results more than 50% of the time now.

- I use UHT whole milk. (parmelat, etc) I buy them in small 8-12oz containers mainly because I don't use alot of milk on a regular basis
- use around half to just under half of the pitcher size you are using. (12 oz pitcher, use 6oz of milk)
- "phase 1" the tip should be just under the surface so you get a "kissing" sound every once in a while. (more details in the video link)
- "phase 2" you lower it deeper. (more details in the video link)
- You can use a thermometer, or you can stop when the steel pitcher gets too hot to keep your hand held up against it.
Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra

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dominico
Team HB

#3: Post by dominico »

shawndo wrote:This post helped me:
Steaming assistance on Olympia Cremina
Sokath, his eyes uncovered!
http://bit.ly/29dgjDW
Il caffè è un piacere, se non è buono che piacere è?

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HB
Admin

#4: Post by HB »

whitedime wrote:Holy cow, words can't express the rage I've felt trying to steam milk.
Watch these videos from Newbie Introduction to Espresso - Latte Art and Learning latte art with steamed soapy water. Practice with water and soap; use a large pitcher (say 20 ounces with 10 ounces of water). Once you've got that down, switch to milk and continue to use a large pitcher, even if you waste milk. Once you get more practice, switch to a 12 ounce pitcher and 6 ounces of milk. It takes considerably more skill to steam less than 6 ounces than 10 with a powerful steamer.
whitedime wrote:I've got good turbulation of the milk but the milk never seems to thicken, it just eventually gets too hot and boils.
That means you're not injecting enough air in the first "stretching" phase. Move the pitcher down, but not so much that you blow bubbles.
Dan Kehn

earlgrey_44

#5: Post by earlgrey_44 »

HB wrote:Practice with water and soap; use a large pitcher (say 20 ounces with 10 ounces of water). Once you've got that down, switch to milk and continue to use a large pitcher, even if you waste milk. Once you get more practice, switch to a 12 ounce pitcher and 6 ounces of milk. It takes considerably more skill to steam less than 6 ounces than 10 with a powerful steamer.
+1
dominico wrote:Sokath, his eyes uncovered!
And after that, it's Darmok and Jalad on the ocean...
Trust your taste. Don't trust your perception.

LukeFlynn

#6: Post by LukeFlynn »

A good steam tip helps a lot. When I had a Nuova Simonelli Oscar (It can be a steam powerhouse, rivals even 2 group commercial machines) I used the LM 0.9mm steam tip, my milk quality and consistency increased dramatically. It might not work for your machine, but I'd definitely recommend checking into steam tip options.

Eiern

#7: Post by Eiern »

I get great milk with my ECM Classika PID, I usually use a no-hands method with a small Espro Toroid milk jug, it just stands on the drip tray. Just the tip of the wand under the milk surface and it first injects air a little and then the milk level rises a little and then the steam circulates the milk and blends everything. I also get great results with a standard 5dl pitcher holding it. Watch videos and try some more, you'll get the hang of it soon!

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SonVolt

#8: Post by SonVolt » replying to Eiern »


When you use your Toroid do you go by the instructions of pointing the tip directly down the middle? I think I've been using the Toroid like a standard milk pitcher and wonder if that's working against me.

whitedime

#9: Post by whitedime »

is the toroid that pitcher with the post/collumn in the middle?

is that a gimmick or does it really work.

Sideshow

#10: Post by Sideshow »

shawndo wrote: - "phase 1" the tip should be just under the surface so you get a "kissing" sound every once in a while. (more details in the video link)
- "phase 2" you lower it deeper. (more details in the video link)
This is my approach. For phase one, start a little below the surface and move the tip up slowly until you get that "ch, ch, ch" sound (called kissing, tearing paper, and all other sorts of metaphors). Keep getting that sound longer for more stiff foam, shorter for wet (micro) foam. This is the stage where air is being injected into the milk.

For phase two, plunge the tip/wand into the milk so you don't get that sound anymore. You want to see the milk swirling, like a whirlpool. This is making the milk more uniform and bringing it up to temperature. Stop right when the pitcher gets too hot to keep your hand on the side. It helps me to move the pitcher so the wand/tip is at the edge; this helps me get a good whirlpool.

Otherwise, practice.