How to Save Money AND Make Better Coffee than Starbucks: PART 2 FROTHING MILK

Those who know me do realize I absolutely love good coffee. Even on vacation the goal is to find the shops with the locally roasted beans and well-trained baristas. This series is a how-to for those who want to save money but love good coffee.

Now, I love to serve espresso straight, occasionally adding a bit of honey or raw sugar. I also like a good latte or mocha latte or espresso macchiato. This means frothing and steaming milk. Here is a short how-to on frothing milk.

  • With a pump machine, you are better off because the water reservoir can be refilled where the inexpensive steam machines need you to wait, twist off the top, then refill. If there are more than one of you who you make drinks for that becomes somewhat annoying.
  • A stainless steel pitcher really makes a difference. You will also need a thermometer to gauge the temperature. If you steam too hot you might ruin the milk. Also, you want to do the steaming before you pull your espresso shot.
  • Start with cold milk, the pitcher being cold may aid in frothing as well. Choose the milk you enjoy, although quality of milk and amount of fat effects results. Trial and error is your friend.
  •  The milk will rise as you place the pitcher under the steam wand with the wand in the milk. This is called “stretching” the milk. Lower the pitcher to keep the tip of the wand just below the milk surface.
  • When you reach the right temperature, usually 150-155 degrees F you should turn the steam off, remove the pitcher of milk, then use an auxiliary cup to release a few bursts of steam to keep the wand clean. You should stop before desired temp as the thermometer lags its reading.
  • Large bubbles are no good. Bang the pitcher on the counter and swish a bit to minimize that. Again, trial and error will teach you a lot based on the milk, pitcher and machine you use.
  • Now you can pull your shots. Pour shots into your mug. (I add sugar or syrup or chocolate at this point.) Then pour the milk onto the espresso.

As a parting note, I have tried frothing devices. They just do not work as well as real steam. Next article I will tell how to use your frothed milk. Really, you can figure that out, but I need to show off more photos.

 Tell me how this works for you! Also, any tips from some baristas out there?

Rich Kirkpatrick

Rich Kirkpatrick

Writer, Speaker, and Musician. Rich Kirkpatrick was recently rated #13 of the “Top 75 Religion Bloggers” by, having also received recognition by Worship Leader Magazine as “Editor’s Choice” for the “Best of the Best” of blogs in 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

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