What is the best way to froth your milk at home?

Froth milk at home

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You are a fan of milk coffees (or a cappuccino, latte, latte macchiato, etc.) and you want to get started with your own espresso machine at home. You may be wondering how to do this, or maybe you have even tried to froth milk.

Of course you can also froth milk through other ways, such as a separate milk frothing machine, heating and whipping a pan/jug of milk or other inventive techniques for frothing milk ! But in this blog we will focus on frothing milk through the steam pipe of your home espresso machine.

Steaming or frothing milk for a milk coffee such as a cappuccino is really not rocket science, but you do need to know what you are doing. You may be able to get perfect microfoam in one go, but chances are you're wondering what exactly is the trick to get the best milk froth for your freshly brewed espresso from your own espresso machine.

Choose your milk

As we have already mentioned in a few previous blogs, the choice is huge when it comes to choosing the milk. You can choose from almost all types of cappuccino or other milk coffee, but we recommend in any case to go for whole fresh milk. Long-life fresh milk is also possible, but those types of milk often have a dominant sweet taste in the milk that can dominate the coffee. Or maybe you really like this, that is also possible.

I myself am a big fan of fat whole milk, such as milk from jersey cows. But it is also possible that some fresh coffee beans come out better with one type of milk and other coffee beans with another milk. This is really a matter of personal preference and trying it out, so take your time!

"Do not choose skimmed milk for frothing milk."

Do not choose skimmed milk for frothing milk. Skimmed milk does create a lot of foam, but unfortunately this does not mix well with the coffee, so you can never get a nice cappuccino or latte macchiato. If you've chosen a milk for frothing milk for your favorite milk coffee, it's time to chill it in preparation for frothing with a steam wand.

If you choose plant-based milk, choose barista editions. Regular plant-based milk will not always froth well for a tasty cappuccino or latte macchiato.

Preparing to froth milk

Before you go for your favorite milk coffee for the first time, it is advisable to practice frothing milk. Frothing milk, or steaming milk, is something you can hardly learn from a book or a blog. This is really something you have to feel yourself in your fingers.

When your favorite milk, or just a milk you are going to try, has become nice and cool, pour it into a milk jug with a spout. How much milk you need for frothing or steaming milk depends on whether you are making one or two cups, the size of your cup(s) and possibly your personal preference. For example, I usually get a good result for a double cappuccino if I fill the milk to a finger's width below the start of the spout. Then I use a medium size milk jug and my cups are medium in size (about 150-200cc).

Just before frothing the milk, you can empty the steam pipe of your espresso machine to discharge any old leftover milk (yuck!) and condensed water. Then place the steam pipe in the middle of your milk jug and lower the tip of the steam pipe about 1-2 cm deep.

Get started with frothing milk

Exactly how deep you lower your steam pipe on the surface of the milk depends on how powerful your steam pipe is. Then turn on the steam pipe all the way, in one go.

Place your other hand over the bottom of the milk jug so that you can keep a close eye on the temperature. I would advise you to measure the temperature with a thermometer the first (few) times afterwards to see if your estimate is correct. Do not let cow's milk get hotter than 70 degrees and vegetable milk no hotter than 55 degrees. The first type of milk will burn differently and the second type will curdle.

Experiment with the depth of the steam pipe. Listen carefully to the sounds the steam pipe creates when it is raised or lowered. You want to hit the sweet spot , somewhere between the high-pitched shrill and the paper-tear sound. This is the only way to get the ideal silky smooth microfoam needed for making your favorite milk coffee at home, from your own espresso machine.

Froth milk in 3 steps

Didn't succeed the first time? Then just try again and repeat the above steps while placing the steam pipe a little higher or lower in the milk and see the difference. You don't want your milk to be too thick and lumpy, then it won't mix well with the coffee and you won't get a nice latte art (if that's your intention). But of course you don't want your steamed milk to be too watery, because then you get a weak cup of coffee and you certainly don't get a latte art.

Pour steamed milk

Does your steamed milk seem to work out well? Then it's time to pour on your espresso. But not before you've rolled the frothed milk well. This ensures a perfect mixing of the different layers of milk and creates a silky whole of deliciously creamy milk for your beloved cappuccino or other milk coffee drink.

You can roll frothed milk as follows. You hold the milk jug by the handle of the milk jug and place the bottom firmly on the counter. Then carefully turn circles over the counter while the bottom of the milk jug does not let go of the counter. If all goes well, a nice swirling movement will be created in the frothed milk. After this you will probably see a nice shimmer in the steamed milk.

Now it's really time to pour, preferably as soon as possible after rolling the steamed milk so that the different layers of milk (warm milk and foam) are well mixed together during pouring. Now hold the cup in one hand containing a fresh espresso with a good crema layer , and hold the milk jug in the other hand. In the beginning you hold the milk jug a lot higher so that you let gravity do its work: you want the frothed milk to break through the crema layer and mix with the espresso under the crema layer. When the cup is 3/4 full, slow down a bit and lower the milk jug a little more towards the cup, making the milk foam more visible (white).

Once you have mastered this, you can start experimenting with latte art. In my blog latte art for dummies I explain how you can get started with this for your favorite milk coffee. Latte art has nothing to do with taste, so if you don't care about this, you don't have to delve into this at all. Making latte art from your frothed milk takes some practice, so if you're practicing at home with your espresso machine, really take the time and effort for this part. You will automatically notice that you are getting better at this.


In this blog I explained how you can best steam or froth milk with your own espresso machine, just at home, to prepare your favorite milk coffee. I explained how to do this using the steam wand of your espresso machine, but also that there are other inventive techniques for steaming milk.

First of all, you can choose from many types of milk. It is important that you do not choose skimmed milk and that you cool your milk beforehand. Cool milk steams up more easily than milk at room temperature. This has to do with the temperature difference, which slows down the process and gives you more control over your frothing process.

When you get started, it is important to know how deep you place the tip of the steam pipe in the milk. Experiment with this by seeing what the effect is on the structure of the steamed milk. If you have the right structure, you can also experiment with pouring into a beautiful latte art in your favorite coffee drink, just at home from your own espresso machine.