If you’re looking to make a perfect latte or cappuccino, you’ll need to master the art of steaming microfoam. Microfoam is a type of milk foam that has a smooth, velvety texture and a glossy sheen, and it’s essential for making a delicious latte or cappuccino, or latte art (if that's your goal).
In this walkthrough, we'll show you how you can steam microfoam like a pro. If you want to see the steps in action, we've linked our video walkthrough at the bottom of this page.
To steam milk, or microfoam you will need some equipment.
You will need an espresso machine with a steam wand, and a milk jug or pitcher.
If you don't have an espresso machine you can always use an electric milk frother to get your latte on.
The Set Up
1. Start with cold milk. Cold milk will help create a better foam and make it easier to achieve the desired texture and temperature.
2. Fill the jug about halfway with cold milk.
3. Insert your steam wand into the jug, anchoring the wand on the spout of the jug, and the tip of the wand on the surface of the milk.
4. Turn your steam wand on and slowly pull your jug down until you hear a paper tearing sound... "ch ch ch ch ch". This is making the foam and aerating the milk. The longer you make this sound the thicker the foam. 3-5 seconds is enough for a latte, and 5-10 for cappuccino.
5. Once you have made enough milk foam submerge your wand into the milk about an inch away from the bottom of the jug.
6. Tilt your jug at about a 45° angle to create a vortex, this will smooth out your milk foam and make it extra creamy, while eliminating any larger bubbles.
7. Finally, turn your steam wand off and slowly remove the jug. Give it a swirl or a tap on the counter to smooth it out even more if needed.
8. Now you can add the milk to your espresso.
You can practice this technique with cold water and a little bit of soap, this will mimic how the milk will foam... Just don't add it to your espresso!
Need to learn how to brew espresso? Check out this blog post!
Check out the video below for an in depth dive into steaming milk and the technique to achieve latte art.