Actually, the perfect bit was just a hook. I'm not at all confident that I am yet making perfect milk with my Rancilio Silvia, but I thought that I would write down some of the things I'm doing in my pursuit of a better cup of coffee. This article is probably of little interest to those who don't like coffee, so I won't feel offended if you push off at this point ... honest.
- The first thing I am doing is trying to give myself a little more steaming time to get the milk right. I keep my milk chilled and the milk jug in the freezer. I reckon this gives me a few extra seconds to get the milk right before it's "cooked".
- Next, I am making sure that the steam is dry before starting steaming. At some point after flicking the steam switch on and before the heating light has gone off, I am turning the steam handle and letting it run into a spare jug or cup. I do this till the steam runs dry.
- Once the steam light is off, I am pouring my milk into the jug I have just removed from the freezer and beginning steaming. To start with I steam to get as much volume as possible while not letting the bubbles get too big. I'm aiming to have the steam wand just below the surface so it makes a sort of slurping noise, while having the steam wand at the lower left corner of the jug so that the milk swirls round the jug in a fast whirlpool. If the bubbles start appearing to large, I lower the steam wand a little.
- While doing this I keep my hand under the left hand under the jug to measure the heat. Once it's too hot to touch I assume the milk will be at perfect temperature with another few seconds steaming.
- I am aiming (for a latte anyway) to get milk where the volume has almost doubled, but I can see no visible bubbles. The surface of the milk should have a velvety sheen. If I get these two factors, plus the milk isn't too hot, I figure I have done a good job.