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In this episode of Espresso at Home, we teach you how to steam milk the Madcap Coffee way. Our go-to coffee for espresso in milk-based drinks is our house espresso blend: Eureka. We roast this coffee with an espresso profile so it pairs great with milk.

To get started steaming milk, you’ll need a pitcher with a spout and handle, a steaming wand towel, espresso, and milk. When choosing milk, the higher the fat content, the sweeter it will be. You can also use a dairy milk alternative, like oat milk or soy milk (just know they’re a bit harder to do latte art with).

Add milk to the pitcher. The amount will vary depending on what type of drink you’re making.

Purging the steam wand

Before you start steaming your milk, make sure to purge the steam wand. When you do this, you’ll want to wrap a towel around the wand to protect your hand from the heat and any water that might spray out.

Once you purge the wand, you’ll insert it into the pitcher along the spout. This will keep the pitcher stable while you’re steaming. The wand should be in the pitcher at a 45 degree angle. You’ll want the tip of the wand just submerged into the milk. As the milk aerates, you’ll pull the wand up a bit (aiming for a wet paint texture for a latte or a marshmallow fluff texture for a cappuccino). Angle it slightly to the left or the right to create a vortex that will integrate the microfoam.

Steaming milk in the milk pitcher

You’re aiming for a temperature that matches your body temperature. To do this, you’ll stop steaming around when the pitcher is too hot to touch with your free hand. For a cappuccino, you’ll turn off the steam wand as soon as the pitcher is too hot to touch. For a latte, you’ll turn off the steam wand three seconds after the pitcher is too hot to touch.

Once you remove the pitcher, purge the steam wand — don’t forget to wrap your towel around it. Clean off any milk that might be there, too. Tuck the wand back under the machine.

Milk that has been steamed

Give the pitcher a tap on the table if there are any bubbles and a swirl to help integrate all the milk, and then you’re ready to make your drink.

Swirl the cup of espresso you’ll be pouring the milk into to remove any bubbles that may have formed and distribute the crema.

Pouring steamed milk into espresso

Next, you’ll build your base by pouring milk into the cup. You’re looking to double the amount of liquid in it. Then, you’ll lower the pitcher to almost touching the espresso. Push the steamed milk into the cup to create your art.

Then, you can enjoy your delicious milk-based drink!

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