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The Major Differences between Foamed and Steamed Milk

How do you like to drink your coffee, with milk, soy or black? If you’re like most people, then you probably enjoy a bit of milk inside of your morning cup. However, not everyone likes the same type of milk.

There are two popular options when warming milk for coffee – steaming and foaming. Both can enhance the flavour of your drink, but there is a distinct difference between the two choices.

The coffee machine you use to create steamed or foamed milk is important for perfecting your cup. The equipment used to create foamed and steamed milk is typically the same, but the techniques are quite different.

What is Steamed and Foamed Milk?

First, let’s take a look at what steamed and foamed milk actually are. At first glance, you’ll notice that steamed milk is a lot heavier than foamed milk since it contains less air and froth. Also, less milk is needed when you are creating foam. That’s because when you foam milk, the volume increases by three to four times than what you started with.

Preparation of Steamed Milk

There are a variety of ways you can steam your milk. You can use a stove, an electric automatic frother or the steam wand on your espresso machine. The best results come from the steam wand, however this typically requires a quality office coffee machine. You should always use cold milk when steaming to prevent it from heating up too quickly. It should take between 20 and 60 seconds, depending on the method you use.

As you’re steaming your milk, you should keep the following tips in mind:

  • Use an espresso thermometer to ensure you get the best steamed milk every time.
  • Use temperatures between 65 and 70 degrees Celsius to create a nice, sweet flavor.
  • Turn off the burner once the milk reaches between 57 and 60 degrees Celsius – the milk will continue to grow hotter for a little while after you remove it from direct heat.
  • Tilt your pitcher a little to let the milk roll – this will create a smooth texture.

Preparation of Foamed Milk

Making foamed milk is a lot like steaming milk. The only difference here is that the milk needs to be more aerated. There are different tools you can use for the foaming process, such as a handheld electric frother, steam wand, manual frother or automatic electric milk frother.

The best options for foaming milk, however, are steam wands and automatic electric frothers. If using a steam wand, you’ll want to make sure that it is near the surface of the milk to add in more air – this “stretches” the milk.

You will also want to lower the pitcher as the milk is expanding. This technique will allow the wand tip to stay beneath the surface of the milk. This is a little difficult your first time around, but you’ll get used to it with practice.

Here are some additional tips for making the best foamed milk possible:

  • Use chilled or cold milk for more foaming action.
  • Choose your milk accordingly. Note that non-fat and skimmed milk are easier to foam, but the flavor isn’t as pleasant compared to other milks. You’ll find the best flavor with whole milk, but it’s heavier and harder to perfect.
  • The best temperature for foaming milk is between 60 and 68 degrees Celsius. Use a thermometer in the milk to keep an eye on the temperature.
  • If you’re using the steam wand, make sure to clean it before you prepare the milk.

Popular Drinks that Use Foamed and Steamed Milk

There are a variety of coffee and espresso drinks that use steamed and foamed milk. Some of the popular choices include cappuccino, latte, mocha/mochaccino and flat white. Cappuccinos are made with one-third milk, one-third espresso and one-third foam, while caffe latte is made with one-third espresso, one cm of foam and two-thirds steamed milk. This way you don’t have to choose one type over the other, but can use both at the same time.

If you enjoy a hot cup of coffee with foam and steamed milk, then this is a great time to find the best coffee machine for work – check out our coffee machine rental page to find the right machine for your office!

The Major Differences between Foamed and Steamed Milk – Pure Bean

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