When making espresso based coffees, most start with the espresso shot process first, they differentiate by milk processing variations. When laying out different recipes I will mention run a shot, which just means run the espresso recipe first before starting your milk. Always Preheat the cups, a good espresso machine will have a storage section that keeps your
cups warm, if you have a non professional machine, warm the cup with boiling water. Double espresso shots typically run through at around 25 – 30 seconds, but this changes with each bean.
There are many different types of milk, whole milk, semi skimmed, skimmed and other non dairy varieties such as soy, almond, hazelnut, rice, and oat to name a few. The best performing and easiest to work with is whole milk, especially when it’s fresh, cold, good quality and locally sourced. The key to smooth, silky, slightly foamy milk is to measure and implement procedures.
Fill your pitcher about halfway, purge the steam wand, hold the pitcher upright & level, position the wand inside the pitcher at an angle, slightly off centre but not touching the side, the wand should be slightly submerged, hold the pitcher with your prefered hand, angle the pitcher slightly left if using your left hand, or slightly right if using your right hand, use the other hand to control the steam gauge, turn the steam up full, allow air to flow (Aeration) into the milk surface (should make a kissing sound), once enough air has entered the milk it will rise over the wand tip and deeper into the pitcher, let the steam spin the milk to create a whirlpool, once the temperature reaches 60 – 65 degrees ( or when the pitcher becomes too hot to hold) turn off the steam and take the pitcher off the wand, clean the wand with a damp cloth (you don’t want a crusty wand), tap the pitcher on the counter a few times to disperse any air bubbles, swirl the pitcher to polish and stop the foam and milk separating, your milk should have a shiny consistency, look a bit like white paint, pour milk into your coffee and enjoy.
Note: These techniques can be applied to all milk types, the results are not always the same, it’s a matter of experimentation. With non dairy milks it’s a more difficult to get the same results as whole milk but you can get good results nonetheless. Using a dairy free milk with a medium to high sugar content with foam and silk up nicely.