Your guide to milk foaming

By Sanuri Perera

Milk foaming is very simple once you get the art of it.

You don’t really know good coffee until the milk is foamed and in your cup of coffee. So, why do people want their milk foamed? Well, for just one simple reason – quality of taste. When you foam your milk, the coffee flavour is enhanced and you can truly appreciate that cup of coffee. You can also do stunning latte art as a result of foaming the milk; maybe not as detailed as the professional baristas but a heart or a swirl to surprise your friends and family.

In order to get your foaming technique right you need to first know what a good cup of coffee with perfect foam looks like. The key to correctly foaming milk is developing the ‘microfoam’. Microfoam is a light layer of foamed milk that ironically to be perfect should not look like foam. If it does look like foam you have got it wrong.

When foaming the milk with an industrial foaming machine it is essential to know exactly where to put the tip. While the process itself is quite simple, it is in its way an art that each person must get accustomed too.  Each machine is also different so there will be a bit of trial and error until you get that first perfect cup.

There are two processes that take place when milk is been foamed. One is when the milk is converted into the microfoam, and the second is when the milk gets heated. As mentioned previously, each machine is designed differently so you will have to test it to discover at which point the milk will be foamed or heated. Generally you can identify this through the distinguished sounds that are made. Close to the mouth of the jug the milk makes a bubbling sound, whereas towards the middle it makes a slight sucking or tearing noise, and toward the base of the jug it makes a louder roar like sound. In order to create microfoam it is important to keep the tip at the middle (slight sucking or tearing noise level) of the jug. Too much of noise will stiffen the milk and not make the foam micro enough. After the foaming is completed, you can dip the tip lower in order to heat the milk.

As the liquid milk turns into foam the volume of milk increases. This is called stretching. Keep foaming until the volume has gone up almost about a half. The volume increase is a good indicator as to the foaming level. Different foam levels are taken for varieties of coffee. For cappuccino a thick layer of foam can be taken. Latte art will not be possible, but you still can get a good cup of cappuccino regardless.

You should heat the milk to about 70°C after which point the milk would curdle. The simplest way to identify this is that if the milk rapidly increases in volume. You can have your hand slightly touching the side of the jug and when it became too hot you can stop. But don’t always keep this as your mark as you may risk burning your hand.

So, this is basically a beginner’s guide to milk foaming. If you do happen to try it at home with your machine, email us images! We can’t wait to see how well your cup of coffee turned out. And keep in mind – foaming your milk is what makes your ordinary cup of coffee, caffe-tastic!!

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