Tutorial – how to make a flat white, part 2

When you come to make this yourself (barista will know of course). You must have everything ready to go at the same time.  Start volumizing your milk at the same time the coffee extraction is happening.  It is important the time lapse is minimal between the extraction & adding the milk to the espresso.


First off you will need a stainless-steel jug (or pitcher as it is called in some countries) The jug needs to be large enough to accommodate the expansion of the milk as you steam it. To get the best result use full fat milk straight from the fridge.

The idea in steaming the milk is to “volumize” it, this is done through adding tiny air bubbles to the milk, called “microbubbles”. Place the tip of the steam wand from your espresso machine just a little below the surface of the milk – 1/2 inch. The absolute aim is to suck air into the milk by forming a whirlpool near the top. It is IMPORTANT you DO NOT have the tip of the steam wand above, or to close to the surface of the milk, causing steam to blow air into the milk.
(**Refer to ‘Aerolatte whisk’ as an alternate option to a steam wand. Last paragraph of article)

DO NOT move the jug up and down whereby the wand tip moves in and out of the milk – an absolute no no if you want velvety textured milk.  Instead tilt the jug slightly so the air being sucked into the milk is hitting the side of the jug near the bottom. At this point the milk should rotate allowing even heat distribution & contact with the steam as it circulates around the jug.

By the time the milk has come to the correct temperature (60-70 degs – you can use a thermometer until you get to know the temp by touch) it should be volumized with tiny micro-bubbles to the extent that it has almost doubled in volume. You DO NOT want to see a jug full of large bubbles (throw out & start again!). If however there are a few large bubbles resting at the top of the milk, simply remove them by banging the jug a couple of times on the bench top to dissipate.

Blending milk with espresso

Before you marry the espresso & milk, you will need to fold the micro-bubbles from the top into the milk at the bottom. My barista swirls the milk in the jug (you can use a spoon to GENTLY fold from top to bottom) until it becomes a consistent velvety mixture. Once you have this, you can proceed to blend into your espresso thereby creating your rich, smooth, velvety textured FLAT WHITE.
Trust me, once that coffee passes your lips, you will be floating in coffee heaven 🙂

**Steam Wand alternative – Aerolatte whisk
There is a gadget out in the marketplace (available in most cook shops & Amazon) called an “Aerolatte“.  The Aerolatte is a battery powered (tiny) whisk. Using the whisk will give you the same results (volumization) as steaming the milk, so long as you follow the same principle detailed above. The whisk head simply becomes the tip of the steamer. You can use a metal saucepan to heat the milk on the stove top / hob, a metal thermometer placed in the milk will tell you when the correct temperature is reached.

Aerolatte whisk

Alternatively heating the milk in a glass jug in the microwave for approx 1 minute (you may need to play around dependent on the wattage of microwave) seems to be the right amount of time for my 1,000 watt oven.  Like with the steaming it will take practice to get the perfect micro-bubbles / volumization.

Now you have the full set of instructions, there is NO excuse!  Have fun & let me know how you get on 🙂

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