I don’t know what inspired me to learn how to make milk froth in the middle of the night. I seriously have no idea. Of course, you cannot make steamy milk froth without thinking about latte or cappuccino. So that was exactly what I just made at midnight. Cappuccino. It is now 12:27 AM and my system is filled with caffeine. Feels like college!
What ultimately made me love cappuccino is my experience of tasting one of the best ones in New York City. This past summer, I had the privilege of living in Soho, which is where some of the best gastronomy places reside. My summer roommate introduced me to a coffee shop called Gimme! Coffee, located right behind my apartment building at Bowery and Spring. After the first sip, I knew I just tasted the best cappuccino I have ever had. The difference? Honestly it’s the froth!
Fast forward a few months, I am now back in my home city of Jakarta, where great coffee is not exactly provided. I have tirelessly (exaggeration) tried various cappuccinos - at Monolog, Union, even friend-made ones - and nothing compares to the one at Gimme! Coffee. The ones here are so watery and blah. So I thought, is this really it? Will never taste great coffee ever again? Because flying to New York City for my daily dose of caffeine is quite of a stretch. Well, the answer has now drifted from HELL NO! to maybe.
I realize that I can only achieve great cappuccino if I learn to make it myself. I assume that since I have tried the best, I can at least try to make something close to it. And my dear friends, I HAVE made something close to it (probably not)!
Again, I believe that the froth is what makes the difference. Now I know I wont be able to make the best coffee in the world by just focusing on the froth. But I already have the best (and most expensive) coffee - Kopi Luwak (bragging) - so why meddle? So I focused on making the thickest and creamiest froth instead.
What have I learned? Here they are:
1. Make sure that you use fresh milk!
2. Make sure that your milk is cold!
3. Make sure that your pitcher is cold (just put it in the freezer about a minute before you steam the milk)!
4. Make sure you steam at the right angle! Basically you don’t want the steamer nozzle to touch the bottom of the pitcher (will make the milk too hot!) nor the surface of the milk (will make the bubble too big!). If you put it right in the upper middle of the pitcher, you will create sort of a whirl, which will make small milk bubbles. This is what you are aiming for!
5. Add a liiiiitttlllle bit of heavy cream just for taste.
Recipe for cappuccino (you need an espresso machine)
1. Make a shot of espresso, pour into a cup.
2. Steam/froth the milk. Do this twice. With different cups, of course.
3. Pour milk into cup and add the frothx2 on top. The double froth will add more froth content (duh!) and make it creamier and thicker. You will be indulging in those tiny bubbles like you have never been before!
Seriously that’s it. And this is my result.
Presenting: coffee Luwak!
Pay attention to the angle and the way I am holding it. By holding onto the cup instead of the handle, you will be able to know if the milk is ready (if it’s too hot to old, that means the froth is ready!).
Small bubbles instead of big ones that pop like when you blow your straw into milkshake!
The end result!
Look how thick it is!
So have i discovered a way to make the best coffee in the world? Not really. But is my coffee the best one in Jakarta? Maybe. Let me try some more and then I’ll let you know.
For more details on how to create the best froth, check out this video tutorial by Mark Jackson.
Let me know if you have any suggestions or questions!