[Homeroast] Bubble bath milk

Sandy Andina sandraandina at me.com
Sun Jan 18 14:27:58 CST 2015

I agree that ideally, a real steam wand, sans froth enhancer, that allows for precise control (i.e., the kind on a good pump espresso machine such as a Gaggia or Silvia on up) is ideal for microfoam.  But I wouldn’t lump the Nespresso Aeroccino Plus in with those little battery-op mini-whisks (which require cold milk but produce cold froth). Even though it doesn’t incorporate steam into the milk, it does heat it sufficiently to achieve partial caramelization—either using its foaming coil for cappuccino or macchiato (I can taste the milk’s sweetness) or its stirrer for heating milk for au lait. (It can’t do a true latte unless you use the foaming coil and wait long enough to let most of the froth break down). It’s what I use, along with (the horror!) Nespresso capsules when I don’t want to fire up the Andreja Premium and wait 20 min. for it to come up to temp & pressure, or with a Handpresso Wild (with Illy or Eataly pods—it has a basket for ground beans but I can’t grind fine enough with my hand grinder and don’t want to use pre-ground espresso that hasn’t been hermetically sealed) on the road in a motel room.

But that bubble-bath foam?  I wanna scream every time I see some pseudo-barista at a chain coffee shop shove the wand (usually of a combi grinder/automatic) into a liter pitcher of milk, set the pitcher on the counter or tray beneath, hit the steam button and do nothing while we hear the telltale screech-glub-glub-glub of ultrabubbles being generated.  Mmmmm….nothing like the taste of dead milk….
> On Jan 18, 2015, at 1:19 PM, Jim Farris <jfarris7 at austin.rr.com> wrote:
> I found Michael's recent response regarding bubble bath milk foam so "right on" I feel I should add my support and own elaborations.
> An excellent steam wand on a good espresso machine does so much more than put bubbles in milk. In fact, bubbles are what is not wanted - observe any good barista's frequent tapping/banging of a frothing pitcher to eliminate bubbles accidentally created after his frothing and before pouring into the cup.
> The steam wand properly used circulates and "enhances" the milk by caramelizing the milk sugars. A good frothing pitcher helps not to create bubbles but to create the microfoam of which Michael wrote and which combines with the espresso to ideally makes every sip of the resulting drink smooth as velvet and totally delicious.
> If all one wants is coffee with milk and air in it, I would never question taste nor claim one drink better than another.  But if you use one of these bubbling utensils, don't settle for that being as good as it could be.  Try a few with a great SO espresso and true microfoam instead.

Peace & Song, 
Sandy Andina

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