I’ve been picking up several tricks over the last few years whilst learning about coffee. One thing I noticed when watching videos of barista’s plying their trade was the common use of two jugs/pitchers for steaming and pouring milk.
I tried it out at home and found that it made it a lot easier to steam milk to the right consistency such that I now regularly use both a small 12oz jug and a larger 20oz jug.
When using a smaller jug on it’s own with my Rancilio Silvia I found it was all to easy to push too much air into the milk making for large bubbles which are not what you need if you’re aiming for microfoam where the bubbles should be barely visible.
Using a larger jug for steaming provides better control and makes it easier to get the right texture. Once I’ve got the milk steamed to the temperature where it’s just too hot to hold at the bottom, I use the smaller jug (pre-heated) to actually pour the milk by decanting from the larger jug into the smaller jug.
I’ve found it’s also handy to be able to pour the milk between the two jugs to blend the microfoam should it have had time to settle to the top. Mixing it provides an even consistency which makes pouring latte art more likely to be successful.
All in all, adopting this technique has definitely helped me improve the texture of the milk and subsequently made it easier to make a half reasonable stab at pouring rosettes.