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how to steam milk

Do you still feel upset after scrolling through all the online information about how to steam silky milk? Yes, I feel you. I was taught the wrong way after I had done some investigation and adjusted. In the meantime, there’s a video uploading in my youtube for you to learn, share and shine.

Table of Contents

  • Fundamental knowledge of milk steaming
  • You only have to consider Top view and Side view during your milk steaming process.
  • How to steam milk for cappuccino?
  • How to steam milk at home?
  • How to steam milk for oat milk?

One of home machine I use, BREVILLE BARISTA PRO, been with me for over 4 years now. Very reliable and affordable. 

Personally I am a Breville lover, Single Boiler BREVILLE BES870 also do the work, for either home espresso or home latte art practice. I’m here ready to answer your tons of questions.

Fundamental knowledge of milk steaming

  • Only steam chilled milk, so that you have enough time to bond well together between air bubbles and milk. 
  • Only steam proper amounts—if it’s too much, there’s no space for either whirlpool effect or vortex effect; if it’s too less, you are not able to stretch properly.
  • You stretch milk before 40 degrees, which is also called making a hissing sound. You texture milk after 40 degrees, which is also called milk steaming, and now it’s the perfect timing to create a vortex.
  • If you stretch after 40 degrees, you are not able to create silky and microfoam. Instead, you only create a big bubble. 

You only have to consider Top view and Side view during your milk steaming process.

How to steam milk?

Top view

Tip–”pick a side” left or right to suit your machine or venues.

Imagine your milk jug handle is 6 o’clock. Your pitcher spout is 12 o’clock. You only have to point your steam wand to clock 2-4 or 8-10.


Side view

If you follow the method pointing to clock 2-4 or clock 8-10, your steam wand is exactly  20-45 degrees vertical to the milk surface. Stop quirky positioning because you can’t even tell how much milk foam you create. Too thick or too thin? Sometimes you may laugh at yourself about why you keep spilling all over. You want a horizontal whirlpool most of the time.


Yes, horizontal whirlpool covers your steaming process up to 90%, but slightly lifting up your milk jug handle can create vortex. You only want to create a vortex at the very end of the milk frothing process to bond your air bubble, lipid and protein properly. By doing so, it is not  necessary to tap the milk jugs or swirl the milk any more. 

steam milk
whirlpool effect happen during steaming milk process
steam milk


create a dramatical vortex at the very end of milk steaming process
How to steam milk?

How to steam milk for cappuccino?

Are you still counting the time around 5 seconds to stretch? That is absolutely old school wrong theory, because different types of machine have different hissing effects. Commercial machines have hard hissing. Home machines have soft hissing.  Different commercial machines also have different pin holes. Home coffee machine as well. Please follow the procedure I discovered. You simply use your eyes to create more than 2cm froth for cappuccino.

How to steam milk at home?

French press/ plunger, microwave, milk frothers, stove top or a home coffee machine are solutions to go. As I have a Breville, the barista express, BES870 at home, I simply follow the way I mentioned before. Just be aware of the Breville BES870 two pin holes wand and it might take you longer to stretch.

How to steam milk for oat milk?

Steaming theory is exactly the same as dairy milk. However, as I mentioned in the fundamental knowledge of steaming milk, chilled milk is always better than room temperature. Vortex effect is the most important procedure for dairy-free milk because bonding well between air bubbles and liquid milk is extremely significant here.  Latte art turotial here.

How to steam milk?

I hope everyone learn something here. This is the most effective and simple way for any barista beginner who wants to nail silky milk steaming. Feel free to leave me any messages if you have any questions.

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