We, Americans, love our milk-based drinks. We go out and purchase both expensive and inexpensive espresso/cappuccino machines that can do the job but, unfortunately, most of us don’t know the nuances of frothing that we need in order to create a quality drink.
This blog is directed towards those of us who have a machine equipped with a Pannarello wand/Tubro frother.
All of these Pannarello wands have air intake holes that mix air with the steam to create froth. They are designed in such a way so we can adjust our technique and inject the amount of air needed to create the type of froth that we want. You may have heard that a commercial wand is needed to make a nice froth. Yes, they are nice, but with a little practice you can do an amazing job with out it.
Most of the Pannarello wands have air intake holes near the top, while some, like the Jura machines have a two-position wand, you move it up for steam and down for froth.
First locate the air intake, once you have located it, follow the technique below.
Always froth your milk when it is coldest, directly out of the fridge. Start by leaving the air intake hole above the surface of the milk. As you are frothing your milk you will notice that it will start to expand and bubbles will appear on the surface. Keep frothing until you have all the froth that you want, and the pitcher is warm to the touch. Then, cover the air intake hole with the milk and keep steaming the milk until the temperature rises to around 160 degrees.
Even if you can’t see the air intake hole you will be able to hear when it is sucking in air and when it is not. Try moving the pitcher up and down with your eyes closed and you will clearly hear the difference. For those who have the Jura machines with the two-position wand use the up position for frothing and the down position for steaming.
After you are done frothing, swirl the milk in the pitcher to mix it until it has the consistency of latex paint. Pour the milk into your espresso and you will have a wonderfully made latte. For more info see my blog "The secret of a great latte”
Every wand and machine is a little different, and it will take some practice until you are comfortable with the wand. While practicing pay attention to the amount and type of froth your machine creates and then make air intake adjustments as necessary. If you inject air for too long you will get to much foam, it will overflow the pitcher, the froth will be cold and it won’t mix together with the hot milk on the bottom of the pitcher, so don’t overdo the amount of air.