How to Make the Perfect Frothy Coffee
There is much to be said about the famous espresso, and rightly so, but the wonderful world of coffee does not stop here – by simply adding steamed or foamed milk to a properly prepared espresso shot, we can create a delightful range of delicious full-bodied and luxurious frothy coffees!
If you’re looking at ways to create your own frothy coffees at home, we have a few tips that can help you to create perfect drinks every time, from silky lattes and rich, luxurious cappuccinos, to short and powerful macchiatos or cortados.
How to Steam and Froth Milk
Steaming milk does require a bit of practice, but it’s a great skill to have once you have got your technique down and are creating perfect lattes and cappuccinos.
- Add cold milk to your jug (whole milk is preferable for its rich texture, but alternatives such as almond, oat and soy milk can also be used)
- Submerge your steam wand into the milk so that the tip of the wand is just below the surface of the milk
- Turn on the steam wand and position the jug at an angle to create a swirling motion in the milk
- Keep the steam wand near the surface to allow air to be incorporated into the milk. As the milk expands and the volume increases, you can then gradually lower the pitcher to keep the wand just below the surface, which should create a whirl and allow the milk to heat evenly
- Using your milk thermometer, monitor the temperature to avoid overheating or burning the milk. For latte-style milk, aim for a temperature of around 60-65°C, while for a cappuccino-style froth, aim for slightly lower temperatures of around 55-60°C
- Once the milk has reached the desired temperature, turn off the steam wand and remove it from the jug, then give the wand a good clean to remove any milk residue
- Gently swirl the milk in the jug to incorporate any remaining foam and allow it to settle for a few moments
- Pour into your pre-made cup of brewed coffee and enjoy!
Frothy Coffee Recipes
Using a ratio of around 1/3 espresso, 1/3 hot milk and 1/3 foam, allow enough room in the jug to hold both the hot milk and foam, and only add enough milk to fill about 1/4 of the jug.
To make the foam, place the steaming arm just under the surface of the milk and begin to steam, angling the jug at a 45-degree angle. Keep the arm submerged under the surface until the jug begins to become too hot to touch, at which point move the steam arm to the base of the jug for a few seconds, resulting in an equal measure of hot milk and foam. Into your cup, add your espresso and hot milk, then carefully add the foam.
Use the same amount of coffee as in a cappuccino but add mostly hot milk and only a small amount of foam. As little foam is needed, you can place the steaming arm straight to the bottom of the jug to focus on creating the hot milk. Keep the arm submerged until the jug begins to become too hot to touch, then raise it to the surface for a few seconds to develop a small amount of foam. Into your cup, add your espresso and hot milk almost to the top, followed by a touch of foam.
Taking its name from the idea of ‘marking’ or ‘staining’ an espresso with milk foam, the macchiato was created to identify an espresso that contains a small drop of milk; as this milk will disappear under the crema, the foam was originally used to identify the espresso with added milk. Since its creation, the macchiato has slightly changed into an espresso topped with foam milk.
Steam your milk using the same method as a cappuccino, keeping the steaming arm close to the surface to introduce enough air to create the foam. Then simply add your espresso to your cup and top with the foam.
Created in Spain, a cortado consists of espresso combined with an equal amount of steamed milk, which acts to reduce the acidity of the espresso shot (the word cortado comes from the Spanish verb cortar, to cut).
To make a cortado, pour your espresso into your cup, then pour over the steamed milk and finish with a little bit of foam on top.