Over the past two years, there’s been a noticeable rise in people investing in coffee machines for their homes. Extended lockdowns and a shift to working from home will do that for ya. Many have traded daily trips to the cafe for quality coffee experiences at home, and they’re keen to get their brew tasting as good as their local barista’s. While coffee at home can certainly be of premium quality, one area people (it’s me, I’m ‘people’) often struggle with is frothing milk.
So when I had a chance to speak with three-time Australian Barista Champion and De’Longhi ambassador Craig Simon about making coffee at home, I asked him for his best pointers on how to nail milk frothing.
While at the De’Longhi Coffee Lounge in Sydney for the launch of the Eletta Explore, Simon explained to me that there is one hack he uses to get a smooth texture (no large bubbles) to his milk when using a steam wand at home.
How to froth milk with a steam wand
Simon shared that “the best little hack that I’ve found” lies in building heat and reducing excess water.
“…because it’s a heat exchanger, and it’s the same heat exchanger that makes the coffee, it [the steaming wand] has to heat up. And the steam remains quite wet at the beginning because it’s not hot enough,” he said.
“The trick is if you turn the steam wand on, and you just drive it … at the beginning, it will spit a little bit of water. And also there’s not much pressure.”
So, what he did was place an empty cup underneath the steam wand when he first turned it on and left it there to catch the water that was spitting out. Once the water stopped, and a good amount of steam was being produced, he turned the steam off, swapped the cup for the milk jug and turned the steaming wand back on again very quickly.
“What you want to do is turn it off and quickly start it up again,” Simon explained.
“If you want good texture, you want to get the milk spinning in a whirlpool. If you start it with no temperature, it won’t spin. It creates some texture on top, and you’ll never get it to spin again.”
This, he highlighted, is why many of us end up with lots of bubbly foam building like a blob on top of hot milk. What you want, rather, is to get about half crema and half milk at the top of your coffee. Smooth, textured milk with no visible bubbles in the foam is the dream, here.
So, next time you go to froth up some milk with your steam wand at home, try this little hack out. Let us know how it works for you in the comments below!
This article has been updated since its original publish date.
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