B1 4.04 – Milk Splitting

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How to Steam One Pitcher of Milk to Make Two Drinks

When it gets busy on a bar, it is faster to steam for two drinks at a time. But if you split your milk by pouring the top half of a pitcher into one latte and then the bottom half into a second latte, the first one will always be much foamier. You need a strategy to distribute the foam evenly, in the least time-consuming manner possible, to give your customers consistency of coffee flavour intensity. The protocol we use for milk-splitting is the Four Quarters Method.

The milk at the bottom of a freshly steamed pitcher of milk will always contain fewer air bubbles than the milk at the top. To even things up, we separate the middle section of the milk from the very top and the very bottom parts.

The Four Quarters Method

This method requires two milk pitchers: a larger one for steaming and a smaller one for pouring. Follow this protocol:

  1. Mentally divide the milk into four separate sections.
  2. Pour three-quarters of your freshly steamed milk into the smaller pitcher. This will pour out most of the air bubbles into the smaller pitcher, leaving the least-foamy quarter behind in the larger pitcher.
  3. Return one of those quarters back to the larger pitcher. This has the effect of returning the foamiest quarter to the larger pitcher.

After you have poured your first drink, using the milk in the smaller pitcher, you can transfer milk from your larger pitcher into the smaller one. This helps to redistribute the foam again, which will make it easier to pour good latte art.

Video: How to split milk to achieve an equal distribution of foam

End 4.04

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