this is the second in a series of posts on steaming milk. some will be instructional and some will just be about the learnign curve I followed (and continue to follow). This one is more about the path than the process.
To steam milk properly there are a number of things that need to be controlled. When I was first learning, even after I had read about it I still did not produce very good milk until my wife, who had worked as a professional barista many years before finally was kind enough to point out to me that I was doing it wrong. She had gently hinted that I was doing it wrong before that a few times, but the problem was her hints were too subtle. Or perhaps the point was that it was too kind.
I thought I had read up on it and I knew better, but I was wrong (perhaps she should remind me of this the next time we disagree about something, but I do not think she remembers this – please do not remind her. You might wonder if she might read this herself, but I think she gets to listen to me talk about coffee enough that she probably does not want to bother reading what I write about coffee, too, but I digress!)
In this case the fault she was recognizing was that I was letting the milk steam for far too long and letting the temperature rise too high. Now I could easily tell if someone made this mistake because the milk tastes scalded instead of sweet.
Properly steamed milk is much sweeter than normal milk. It is thus a great skill to develop because it not only makes you in with the hip barista crowd, but also with the toddler up through high school crowd. From the time she was a little under two one of my daughters was demanding “teamed milt daddy” regularly. It also makes for a killer cup of hot chocolate. In fact it works so well that I got a pitcher that was bigger than I would ever use for coffee so that I could produce silky sooth hot chocolate drinks for my kids and my friend’s kids when they visit.
It is fun to hear friends chided by their kids for why they don’t have an espresso machine to make them hot chocolate.