When it comes to making hot beverages such as latte, cappuccino, coffee, tea or macchiato nothing beats an espresso machine. But one element that counts for most of the drinks mentioned above is milk, which is why it is important for a coffee lover to know how to steam milk well.

Learning how to steam milk well is also an art of its own, it adds perfect depth texture to any drink. In this article, we will share with you how to steam milk in the right way with an espresso machine. How you steam the milk varies depending on what drink you are making.

Just so you know, if you click on a product on JustCoffeeMaker.com and decide to buy it, we may earn a small commission. Learn more.

For example, drinks such as cappuccino or latte use less milk compared to some others such as macchiato or cortado. Let’s guide you through steaming milk properly for all kinds of hot espresso-based drinks.

When you steam milk in an espresso machine you have to know how to make it smooth and textured. There isn’t a world of difference in steaming milk for different kinds of warm beverages, what differs more is the quantity of milk you add for each, also depending a lot on the taste.

Adding milk is a prerequisite, no matter which hot beverage you choose to drink. The foam that will be created with it will directly affect the taste of the beverage.

steam milk with espresso machine

One important thing about steamed milk, that is properly made, is that it won’t produce big bubbles and won’t look the same as cold milk. It won’t look glossy but rather velvety and you will notice it will stick by the side of a spoon if you dip in it.

Things Needed To Steam Milk In Espresso Machine:

  • Milk: whole milk or half of it.
  • Steaming pitcher
  • Steam Wand

Things To Keep In Mind When You Are Steaming Milk In Espresso Machine:

  • Ensure that the milk is as cold as possible. However, it should not be straight out of the freezer. If you try to heat milk right out of a freezer, it won’t steam well.
  • The steaming pitcher inside the espresso machine should be filled with an adequate amount of milk to ensure that you do not waste any milk.
  • When you are steaming milk, see that it is not producing large bubble but microfoams.

How To Steam Milk With An Espresso Machine:

  • Once you have the milk and espresso machine ready, here are a few steps you need to follow for proper steaming:
  • Before you add milk in an espresso machine, turn on the machine and let it warm up for some time.
  • Since you will want to produce steam, see that the water in the machine is up to the temperature required before you add milk to it.
  • Now you can add milk to the metal pitcher inside the espresso machine.
  • Now insert the steam wand inside the pitcher in such a way that its tip is right below the surface in which milk is steaming.
  • When you will turn on the wand the larger bubbles will start to break down allowing you to have control over the aeration in the milk.
  • When you feel the milk has become hot enough, turn off the steam wand.
  • The milk you have just steamed should resemble that of melted ice cream.
  • You can now add the steamed milk in your espresso or whatever warm beverage you are preparing for.

If you do notice velvety microfoam left in the pitcher, you should know you have properly steamed the milk. However, if there are too many large bubbles left in the pitcher, it means you have to get some fresh milk and try all over again. If you feel the steam milk is not producing perfect micro foam, you can even swirl the milk in the pitcher in order to make a rich texture.

Tips To Consider When You Are Steaming Milk In Espresso Machine:

  • The more you wait to pour the milk in the pitcher, the more texture in the milk will break down.
  • It is good to leave some milk in the pitcher is good because it prevents the untextured milk from adding to the espresso.
  • After every use, make sure to clean the steam wand to prevent bacteria from growing in it.
  • If there many large bubbles in the pitcher, you could swirl the milk for a while to allow the larger bubbles to break down and form microfoam.

The way you steam the milk will directly affect the taste of your espresso so make sure that you follow this guide well when you steam milk in the espresso machine. With different kind of warm beverages, the steaming does not vary as much as does the quantity of the milk added in it. So go ahead and make some lip-smacking espresso and don’t forget to share the experience with us.


Grant is the man behind Just Coffee Maker, a site dedicated to the art of brewing coffee manually! Grants's writing is unpretentious and really captures the beauty of the ritual in making great coffee.

Write A Comment