Every time I get my cappuccino in the morning, the guy that makes it takes the cup of milk, shakes it, then hits on the table a few times, then does the same thing for a couple of times, only after that pours into the cup.

Why does he do that? Why shake, then hit a few times, then shake again?


3 Answers 3


I'm a bit of a coffee nut, having bought my own espresso machine & grinder and have been pulling my own shots and learning how to create different coffee drinks for some years now. I am by no means an expert, however:

What you're seeing when the barista is swirling/tapping the milk jug is called "polishing". It's the step after they've steamed it and does two things

1) The swirling "polishes" the milk/foam to give it a nice "shine" (best described as looking like paint).

2) The tapping removes any larger bubbles - your aim for steamed milk for coffee drinks is generally to get a "micro foam" which as it sounds, has micro bubbles.

Bit of extra info:

To control how much foam you get is right at the start, when you initially start the steaming - you have the steam wand just under the surface of the milk so it introduces as much air as you need. Similar idea to whipping cream really. After introducing the air, you submerge the steam wand and use the steam to "spin" the milk - this mixes the foam with the milk to increase it's volume (and also starts the "polishing" process).

To control where the foam goes, you adjust how quickly you pour. Just dumping it all in the cup will churn the milk and foam together. Pouring with a spout in a more controlled fashion will pour the milk in first, then the foam after (same idea as helium balloons rising, the foam is lighter than the milk)

Hope this helps :)


You are talking about the barista handling the milk after steaming it, right?
My guess (from what I've seen in the milk jug @home):

  • shake (rather: swirl, otherwise he'd just spill the milk) to loosen stuck-on foam on the top walls of the jug.
  • hit to separate foam and milk (-> makes it easier for him to judge the milk-foam-ratio later)
  • swirl again to loosen the foam from the jug again.

Then pour...

  • basically it is done to separate the foam from the milk. Simple and makes complete sense :). thank you
    – Eugene
    Commented Dec 11, 2014 at 9:02

This is an old method for making cappuccino or latte without using a machine or frothing tool. To get bubbles in the milk, you have to shake, and tap(hit). This method is now used for special drinks which can be either alcoholic or non-alcoholic

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.