Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Striving for Perfect Foam

Sylvia and I (see below) have been working together for a few months to create the perfect cappuccino foam, known in the coffee world as "microfoam".

Since we became acquainted in June, I've watched YouTube videos, taken advice from barista friends, and watched the Rancilio instructional videos online on how to make perfect foam.

But I feel like I've hit a foaming plateau.

I made this cappuccino this morning.

While it's not terrible looking, it's still not microfoam. 

This is Sylvia. She makes it all possible.


So, coffee drinkers and makers alike...what are your tips?  I've tried frozen, refrigerated and room temperature stainless steel milk frothing cups, boiler light on/boiler light off, angled wand, straight wand, fully submerged, slightly submerged, rolling milk, swirling milk...list the goes on.  Where's the good stuff?

I'm thinking the only thing left to do is apprentice with a foaming master.

Until then, my quest continues...


  1. Cold pitcher. Cold milk. It was easier to angle the wand when I worked at Ladro. Just aerate milk for a few seconds. Submerge wand. Milk should then swirl without any movement on your end. Just make sure you have enough milk in the pitcher. When you stop steaming, swirl the milk to reincorporate milk + foam. That helps give the glossy appearance. Also whole milk makes much nicer foam than nonfat.

  2. Ha! Erin said what I was going to say! My boss at Karma said to only aerate the milk to 100 degrees, then submerge the wand totally until 140 or 150- however hot you want it. And then make sure to stir it with a large spoon. It gets the best milky foam. Yes, and don't bother with nonfat. Whole milk is the way to go.
    Keep us posted.

  3. And Emily added the details I forgot! Glossy foam is achieved at a cooler temp: between 140 and 150, since milk will continue to heat another ten degrees or so once you stop steaming.

    Sarah, I want to visit you and meet Sylvia!


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