How to steam milk with an espresso maker (Can you steam milk with an espresso maker + more information)

If you want to expand your coffee-making skills, steaming milk is likely among your top priorities. Make sure to read until the end of this article to find out the answer to the question: Can you steam milk with an espresso maker?

You can use an espresso maker to steam milk by using its steam wand and submerging the wand into the milk, then turning it on to inject hot air and steam into the milk. Afterward, you tap the milk to remove its big bubbles and leave microfoam on the milk’s surface.

It was not until I became a barista shortly after college that I gained an appreciation for a good cup of cappuccino, and learning to steam milk correctly helped greatly with that process. I will be the first to say that steaming milk using an espresso machine can be tricky to learn, but understanding how it works will help you with creating excellent steamed milk to use in your espresso-based drinks. Read on until the end to find out how you can use an espresso machine to create steamed milk.

How to steam milk with an espresso maker

If you have an espresso maker, it likely has a steam wand – this is the tool you will use to steam your milk. To do so, follow this procedure:

  1. Purge the steam wand by opening its knob or lever. This will remove any residual water or milk that had condensed in the tip. Only do this for a few seconds, then close the wand immediately.
  2. Take the milk pitcher and position the milk just below the tip of the steam wand. When you turn the wand on, the wand will aerate the milk’s surface slightly to create froth.
  3. Turn on the wand and submerge it slowly into the milk, then tilt the pitcher to ensure you create a whirlpool for aeration.
  4. As you steam the milk, create a whirlpool by tilting the pitcher slightly. Continue for a few seconds until the milk becomes hot enough, which you will know by touching the pitcher. If you cannot touch the pitcher for more than 3 seconds without burning your hand, it is hot enough.
  5. Take out the pitcher and clean the wand.
  6. On the counter, tap the pitcher slightly to remove any big bubbles, then swirl it to absorb the foam.

Once you steam it through this procedure, the milk is ready, and you can pour it into your drinks.

How long should you steam milk with an espresso maker?

can you steam milk with Mr. Coffee espresso maker 
Espresso maker. Image source: Amazon

The process should not last more than 5 seconds as long as you do it using the correct pressure. Overheating the milk will scald and boil the milk, which results in hot milk that has very little air inside it and is too coagulated to form microfoam, and this milk cannot go back to its original form.

To maximize the consistency of your steaming process, always use fresh cold milk and do not steam it more than two times. The steam pressure is also essential to the process, as a good espresso maker steam wand should create a pressure ranging from 1 to 1.5 bars.


How do you know when steamed milk is hot enough when using an espresso machine?

The most reliable test is checking the milk’s temperature, which should be between 60 and 65OC (140 to 149OF). If you do not have a thermometer, place your dominant hand around the milk jug and feel it heat up in your palm – if you cannot hold the jug for more than 3 seconds, then you have achieved the best milk temperature.

Can you steam the same milk twice using an espresso machine?

Yes, you can steam the milk twice, but only up to a maximum of 2 times. Any more than this will cause the proteins in the milk to denature, and the milk will coagulate.

How do you know if milk is steamed when using an espresso machine?

The milk must have a layer of soft microfoam at the top once it is steamed correctly, without the presence of too many large air bubbles (a sign of too much air).

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