How to Froth


First, purge your steam wand to get any residues out of the way. Then, we begin with cold milk. Cold milk lets you heat the milk for longer, allowing you more time to texture your milk, before hitting the optimal temperature. For auto-frothing and manual/commercial-style wands, you want to start with the steam off and position the tip of the wand slightly below the surface of the milk. Then turn the steam on. For auto-frothing wands, you can stop there. The auto-frothing wand will do most of the work for you. For manual wands, lower the pitcher until the tip of the wand is very close to the surface of the milk so that you can hear air getting sucked in. A venturi effect will force air into the milk, and a ripping sound can be heard. For fine microfoam and latte style foam, you want to stop adding air when your frothing pitcher starts to feel warm. For fluffier cappuccino style froth, continue adding air for a little longer.

To stop adding air, raise the pitcher to lower your wand deeper into the milk. For pannarello wands, raise the pitcher to lower the wand enough to submerge the air intake hole in the side of the wand. For manual wands, lower the steam tip just below the surface of the milk. From here, angle and maneuver your pitcher until you find the right position for your milk to roll. Rolling the milk breaks up any larger air bubbles in your milk froth and makes it uniform. Roll the milk until the pitcher is hot enough to feel a little uncomfortable to hold.

When the milk is heated the sugars from lactose begin to caramelize. A good target range for milk froth is somewhere between 140-150 °F. Exceeding this causes the milk to lose its sweetness and flavor.

Choosing Milk


For a properly velvety frothed milk, your milk relies on three things: lactose, proteins, and fats. Lactose is responsible for the sweet flavors in milk. Proteins create the stability for the formation of foam. Fats create richness in the milk, imbuing the froth with body and velvety texture for superb mouthfeel.

The ratio of proteins to fats is what determines the final texture of the milk. High fat milks, such as 2% or whole milk are typically more desirable. These milks have a higher fat to protein ratio. This means the foam isn't as stable, but it also means that the foam distributes more readily. The milk foam will not separate as easily, will taste more velvety and have a wetter mouthfeel. It will both taste and feel richer. Because higher fat milks mix more easily they are going to be the easiest for beginners to work with.

Lower percentage milks such as skim milk or 1% milk will have stiffer foam that holds together longer. The foam also doesn't mix as well with the steamed milk because of the low fat content, causing quick separation of the froth from the steamed milk. These milks will tend to result in a foam with drier mouthfeel, and watery steamed milk.

Types of Drinks


  • Cappuccino

    • ⅓ espresso
    • ⅓ steamed milk
    • ⅓ milk foam
  • Latte

    • ⅓ espresso
    • ½ steamed milk
    • Just a little bit of milk foam on top
  • Latte Macchiato

    • ⅓ steamed milk
    • ⅓ espresso
    • ⅓ milk foam
  • Flat White

    • ⅓ espresso
    • ⅔ steamed milk