Does it make a big difference in the flavor of my latte if I boil the milk, versus steaming it?

  • 2
    You are very welcome to post here, but let me also point you to our sister site Coffee.SE where you will find more Q/A's about coffee. (But please don't jilt us for them, ok? ^_^)
    – Stephie
    Commented Mar 27, 2016 at 15:07

3 Answers 3


A latte is similar to a cappuccino but with different proportions. It's unsurprising that a similar method and equipment would be used. Cappuccino needs steamed milk to get the froth, so a coffee bar machine has a steam pipe. To boil the milk for a latte would require an extra piece of equipment and the associated space.

Is perfectly possible to make an espresso-based drink with milk heated on the stove or in a microwave, that would be a close approximation to a latte -- possibly indistinguishable. But if you boil the milk, it will change the flavour.


Steaming solves for the dual-purpose of both heating as well as creating the froth (milk foam). The froth is formed when the steam condenses onto the surface of the milk and these air bubbles are stabilized (do not collapse) thanks to whey molecules surrounding them.

You could also boil the milk but then you'd have to froth it separately.

  • I actually have a milk frother that can heat the milk too (operates hot or cold) The froth is added by a spinning element, and it is heated a little like a kettle - only with no exposed heating element for the milk to burn onto.
    – Baldrickk
    Commented Nov 20, 2018 at 14:23

when boiled it most likely get's an "Café au Lait" when steamed it get's more like frothy milk wich you usually get in a "Latte macchiato"

  • The difference between a café au lait and latte macciato is not the temperature of the milk....
    – Stephie
    Commented Mar 27, 2016 at 15:10

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