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okay so really, what should the milk look like?

October 05, 2011

What should steamed milk look and taste like?  I opened my last blog entry with this basic question and then proceeded not to answer it.  The real answer is, of course, worth delivering though.  When milk is steamed to a proper microfoam it is stunning.  It has a sheen to it and no visible bubbles.  That is because there are bubbles, but they are so tiny that you can not distinguish them with your eye.  The sheen makes it look quite a bit like latex paint (although I never had the urge to drink latex paint and microfoamed milk is hard to resist).


The taste should never have a hint of burnt in it that results if the milk is steamed to too high a temperature and should have a sweetness that is not there before proper steaming.  This sweetness results from the carmelization of the sugars in the milk during the heating.  This is the same reason that carmelized onions are so sweet compared to regular onions.  The analogy can be extended for me to the idea of eating a burger with uncooked onion rings on it, which is good but not perfect versus eating a burger with carmelized onions on top of it which can be divine.  (On the other hand it ends there because I could imagine a burger with some mixture of carmalized onions with non carmelized ones and I would always prefer steamed milk in a coffee drink to non steamed milk.


Here is a photo of steamed milk posted by Luca, an Australian Barista, on Coffegeek.com and steamed by fellow barista Simon Maltitude..





The original photos are found in the following thread...

http://coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/grinders/42812?LastView=1317920510...


Cooler looking still is this photo also posted by Luca of the Rosetta that Simon Maltitude poured.  This is done freehand and is one of the better examples of latte art that I have seen (and better than I can do).  I would rate it as world class.  I wanted to includ this in case you hadn't seen latte art and didn't know what people are talking about whene they refer to it.










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