One of the secrets to making a great cappuccino is getting the froth (or foam) right. Here are a few steaming tips to get you going:

For best results, use a stainless steel jug (pitcher). They are commonly available from good equipment suppliers (for example Koldserve). Also ensure that the pressure on your espresso machine is adequate for the effective frothing of milk.

1. Pour cold milk into the jug. Make sure that the milk is cold and fresh. It may be full cream or low fat milk. Remember, it is not so much the fat content as opposed to the appropriate protein levels in the milk which results in a good foam texture.

Frothing Milk 12. Insert the steam nozzle into the jug. The nozzle should be suspended a centimeter or so from the bottom of the jug. Open the steam valve fully and rotate the jug in a circular motion for a couple of seconds.

3. Now lower the jug until the nozzle is just under the surface level of the milk. Lower the jug slightly until a hissing or frothing sound is heard. Do not break the surface of the milk as this will result in big, uneven bubbles in the froth. Repeat this a few times.

4. Now submerge the nozzle again to the bottom of the jug while continuing with the circular motion as described in step 1.

5. Preferably use a thermometer to guide you to the correct temperature of between 60 and 70 degrees Celsius, depending on the individual’s preference. Be careful not to burn the milk, as this is a common mistake made by inexperienced baristas. Milk which has been heated up to boiling point will not only lose its natural sweetness, but ti will alo adversely affect the texture of the end result.

Latte art6. Close the valve and remove the jug only when the valve has been closed completely. Remember to always purge and wipe your steamwand before and after using it.

The desired texture of the froth should be smooth, creamy and silky with a gloss or a shine to it. It should not contain any big, visible bubbles. The froth should be able to “stick” to a teaspoon when the spoon is suspended upside down.

Pour your milk into your cup with the espresso in it. Now you can sit back, relax and enjoy your work of art!