The Linea Micra’s steam wand is powerful and will heat a small pitcher of milk in just a few seconds. This can take you by surprise if you’re used to other small home machines. We will go over some of the basics to steaming milk and look at how to create two kinds of popular foams. A thick dense-foam and a silky micro-foam.
350mL pitchers are the smallest option and work great for milk drinks that are under 250mL, like cortados and cappuccinos.
500mL pitchers are recommended for milk drinks between 250mL and 350mL, such as lattes.
milk steaming basics
Always fill the pitcher to within a fingers width of where the spout starts, about half way. If the pitcher is underfilled, it will be hard to control and heat too quickly. If the pitcher is overfilled, it will be more likely to over flow and make a mess.
Use a wet rag to clean the wand and always purge before and after use. Hold the pitcher by the handle so that you do not get burned when the milk gets hot and use the same hand to turn on the steam knob as to feel the side of the pitcher for temperature.
Once the pitcher feels nice and hot to your hand, turn off. The perfect ready to drink temperature is between 55-60 degrees celsius.
Because the milk steaming process is so quick with the Linea Micra, every small change in the steam wand's position makes a change in the milk's consistency. What makes the milk foamy is the position of the tip of the steam wand in relation to the surface of the milk.
The closer the tip of the wand is to the surface of the milk, the more air will be added in. We will hear the air being added to the milk, sounding like paper ripping. We want that sound to be controlled and quiet so that the bubbles will form in a condensed and smooth texture. The air being added into the milk should also swirl the liquid around in a vortex, further incorporating the air to be a consistent structure throughout.
To make micro-foam on the Linea Micra, keep the line on the tip of the wand just below the surface of the milk, heating and spinning the milk until it feels hot.
To make a thick and dense-foam on the Linea Micra, keep the top line of the tip just above the surface of the milk, heating and spinning the milk until it feels hot.
For both milk styles, the incorporation of air needs to be small and controlled. Each movement of the steam wands tip should be intentional. The sounds we hear are a bit like paper ripping or light hissing, not a harsh sputtering explosion.
Try making and tasting both types of milk! A well trained barista will master both in time.