Mar 16, 2012

News: Starbucks Offers Smoother, Creamier Steamed Milk

Starbucks has introduced a new milk steaming pitcher to their stores with a distinct, tapered dome-shaped bottom. The new pitcher is purported to allow Starbucks baristas to consistently steam milk with a more velvety texture than before.

What does this mean to the average Starbucks drinker? Well, if your typical Starbucks drink is a Frappuccino or an iced coffee, nothing really. But if you take a Starbucks cappuccino or latte every day (or any other steamed milk drink), it should mean a great deal. The new pitchers are meant to enhance the production of "microfoam" during steaming so that the result looks more like paint and less like thick but soapy water (bigger is not better for steamed milk).

Being that your latte or cappuccino is mostly milk, this change should offer a smoother texture and a sweeter, creamier taste than with the previous steaming pitcher.

So why weren't you getting microfoam before? From my observations, it's an efficiency issue. During rush times, Starbucks wants to make those lattes as quick as possible because people don't like waiting (plus they sell more coffees that way). The previous giant bucket of a pitcher was great for making a lot of lattes at a time but the milk steaming while fast (the baristas just put the steam wand in and come back to it later) left a bit to be desired (soapy bubbles, flat taste).

I haven't seen the new pitchers in action but I would guess they still use it the same as the old one. But, just by virtue of its shape, it should create a whirlpool motion while steaming, resulting in smaller bubbles and sweeter, creamier milk and therefore, creamier and sweeter lattes.


  1. Who are the idiots that go to Starbucks. Any cafe that can't steam proper microfoam is a disgrace. Instead of issuing a new pitcher perhaps Starbucks should properly instruct it's "baristas" if you could call them that.

  2. lol i am a Batista that works at Starbucks and repeatedly frustrated by the lack of pride in the steamed drinks the fact that we are suppose to use a spoon for almost all them something i would only do if i messed up working in other places


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