Let me start by saying, I mostly enjoy my coffee black, so I rarely need to reach for milk, but when I do, or when I see others preparing milk for their cappuccino or flat white, this one single tip almost always improves the texture of the milk, and the flavour of the coffee.
Do you remember that sound of milk being frothed by some actor on TV? Its sounds a lot like "Pssshhhht...Pssshhhht...Pssshhhht..." as they plung the tip of the steam wand in and out of the milk pitcher. That same motion can be seen at most non-cafe restaurants as they prepare their milk pitcher of milk for your flat white. The problem with all that plunging and action, is that you end up with a very bubbly and soap-suds like consistency to your milk. It ends up being very thick on top from bubbles, and very thin and watery underneath. When you addd that to you your espresso base, you end up with what I like to refer to as a thin cup of coffee.
silky smooth microfoam makes a delicious cappucinno or flat white
The secret to producing great microfoam, which is realy what you want, lots and lots of tiny bubbles all through your milk, making a thick and silky smooth texture is to "steam the milk with the tip only gently breaking the surface until the milik gets to 30c (close to body temp by touch), and then to plunge the steam wans INTO the milk pitcher, and if you can, try to make a whirlpool effect" (be careful not to make too much of a whirlpool, or you risk sucking in more air, creating that Pssshhhht...Pssshhhht... noise and fluffing up your milk too much).
At first attempt, it may not seem like this method will work, but it will, and with a little practice, you will be producing delicious silky smooth milk to pour into your coffee base. When you pour microfoam, you will instantly notice a difference in the pour, and the sound of the pour - it appears thicker, and more consistently textured.
Let me know what you think in the comments or if this method has helped you.
Nothing goes better with a good book than a freshly brewed cup of coffee.
For starters, coffee — as with wine — varies greatly in flavors, acidity and even texture. Roasting plays a role in the final flavor of the coffee, but so does the region in which the coffee was grown.
One of the most significant factors on flavor involves the area in which coffee beans are grown.
Latin American coffees are “familiar", with a clean finish and flavors of nuts and cocoa.
Beans grown in African and Arabian regions are crisp and citrusy. Often coffees grown in this region contain floral aromas and hints of berries.
Asia/Pacific coffees tend to be most robust in flavor and contain earthy and herbal notes.
Determining which foods and desserts best pair with your coffee is as simple as knowing what flavors are packed into your coffee grounds. African coffees, for instance, would pair well with a lemon square or strawberry short cake, while a blend of coffee from the Latin American region would go well with a brownie or a slice of pecan pie.
Brewing your best cup of coffee at home starts with the water you use. Filtered or bottled water makes for the best coffee.
And, as if you needed any more excuses to go ahead and grab a cup of coffee, there may be some health benefits to enjoying a cup of coffee.
When coffee is enjoyed in moderation, it can, as some studies have shown, reduce type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s and dementia. According to WebMD.com, those who drink coffee in moderation also may have fewer cases of cancers, heart rhythm problems and strokes.
Despite much earlier studies that linked coffee to cancers and heart disease, more recent studies have found no correlation between coffee and risks of cancer or heart disease. Earlier studies showing the correlation failed to take into account behaviors such as smoking and inactivity.
Keeping your cup of coffee as healthy as possible means using common sense. Heavy creams, sugary syrups and lots of sugar can make coffee unhealthy, but chances are you won’t need any of that once you learn to savor the flavors of the beans themselves.
Copyright 2011 The Independent.