Texturing Milk

Achieving really smooth latté milk (Paul L)

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This short article assumes you have already or will read one or more of the many milk frothing guides on the web. There is no shortage of them and they will all give you the basic phases of stretching and heating. So, I'm not going to try and emulate what others have already described in abundance.

I Have had my fair share of struggles with milk in the past though and I'm not so sure that the things I read gave me what I want and what I suspect you want too, to be able to put smoothly textured and very hot milk in the drinks I make for myself and others. Once experienced, there is no going back to coarser foam. Even when you think you are producing something far smoother than the high street delivers it is still an experience when someone hands you a cup with incredibly smooth milk.

When Dave C first handed me a latté I was taken aback and I have seen others have the same reaction. Here's how I finally managed to achieve it. This is really an endorsement of what I learned from Dave and which you will find on the parent page to this one.

Jug size (for single lattés i.e. 1 oz espresso and 3 oz to 4 oz milk)

My smallest jug is 0.4L but, frankly, I don't use it, at least not for coffee anyway (it's my daughter's jug so she feels special as only her hot chocolate or water and little cup and saucer are used for it).

My favourite jug for singles is my 'Ilsa' 0.5L which I bought from Whittard (a UK tea and coffee retailer found both on-line and on some high streets) a good while ago.
- downside is that it is thick so heat transfer is slower (less informative) than thinner ones.
- upside is that it is thick so it just feels good. Of course it tapers towards the top.

Whilst it has 0.5L (or 18 fl oz) capacity I only use the Ilsa for 120ml (4 fl oz) of milk as you need the headroom for texturing. For doubles I use a bigger jug, I would not double the milk quantity in this size of jug.


Technique is 10/10/10 equalling 30 seconds
- 10 seconds of stretch
- 10 seconds of texturing with tip submerged only 0.5cm
- final 10 seconds of heating with tip submerger only 1cm or so


Stretching for only 10 seconds is counter-intuitive as we don't actually see anything happening but is essential to obtain 'yogurt' texture and avoid settling in the cup later.

Texturing for 10 seconds is chrurning the milk. It's now that you notice the texture changing and your faith rewarded

Final 10 seconds is heating too hot to hold for comfort and achieves a drink that you can't yum in seconds.


  • I don't know how this will translate to your machine so you need to experiment with the timings of course but don't dwell on the stretching, this latter point has been the biggest source of problems for me in the learning curve, despite really, really trying not to over-stretch.
  • I use a single-hole Expobar tip on my Izzo Alex MK II. The single hole gives you great control over the direction and the power is perfect. I still use it when steaming 6 oz of milk for a larger (double espresso) latté where each stage is then 15 seconds or so
  • Tips with more holes are faster and so better suited to larger quantities of milk but in smaller jugs can blast too much and you often lose the controlled spin of the milk that you get from the single-hole tip
  • Don't forget all the basics you will read out there e.g. not heating milk twice, not adding cold to already steamed milk or not stretching aggressively and creating large bubbles.

Also - see forum thread from which this article originated here