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Steaming Perfection

At Starbucks, we spend a lot of time focused on coffee quality, and with good reason – it is at the heart of our most popular beverages. But if our signature Espresso Roast is the heart, then great steamed milk is the body that holds our espresso beverages together.

Over the next month, Starbucks is rolling out a new custom steaming pitcher to help our expert baristas make even better steamed milk for your beverage. The secret is in the shape. It’s tapered and concave, allowing for the “whirlpool” motion needed for steaming perfection.

So what does perfect steamed milk look like? If you take the lid off your drink, you should see a layer of shiny, meringue-like foam, without any big soapy bubbles. This foam, which we call “microfoam,” comes from the incorporation of thousands of microscopic bubbles into the milk, and results in a superior, creamy texture. Great steamed milk tastes better, too – perfect steaming brings out the subtly sweet taste of the natural sugars present in milk. This perfection doesn’t come from a machine, but requires the expert touch of our highly trained baristas.

So, if you notice that your Vanilla Latte or Caramel Macchiato tastes a little smoother and creamier, take a look beneath the lid and check out the great steamed milk in your cup.

comments (2)

Comment FAQ

    • 2/20/2012 11:03 AM

    Unfortunately very few of your baristas consistently do a good job with foam. It's quite rare to enjoy a well foamed latte or cappuccino. I would very much appreciate your baristas to do a better job of this on the drinks where it matters (cappuccino and latte). For the ones with extra syrups, this doesn't matter as much, but for those two drinks, it must be done well. And I haven't had a good foam in quite some time.

    • zulithe
    • 2/21/2012 5:08 AM

    I enjoy starbucks for its convenience, but they do not make good espresso drinks. A suburbanite may not notice the difference, but us urbanites know what a good pull of espresso looks and tastes like. Is it the quality or freshness of the beans, the inexperienced baristas, ineffective machines? Starbucks needs to improve that long before it starts worrying about the size of the bubbles in their steamed milk.

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