My favorite thing used to be stocking milk. I used carry ten milks at once, without a milk crate, it was amazing. I mean I dropped one every now and then and had to deal with the occasional cracked upside-down carton of milk as a result, but no worries. I can't stand those girls who run to the back to get one or two milks. Those women are WEAK. Possibly because they never drank enough milk in the first place, but I did, and I now have bones of steal.
I think my love of milk made for easier steaming... helped me understand the milk, how to keep the foam fine and creamy. I don't know if liking milk really makes a difference, but I like to think it does, because like I said I love the stuff.
Anyway, every now and then I'd run to the walk-in to pick up the milk and we'd have a "barista half and half"from Straus Family Creamery. I always wondered why, of all the milks to order in "barista" form, why on earth we ordered a half and half, because we had about one breve a week and the rest was just to top off people's coffees. Plus our regular milk seemed to steam just fine to me, so why the sudden switch to this barista brand?
I mean except for soy milk which always clumps and bubbles and burns. I'm pretty sure soy milk isn't really meant to be steamed. We used Wildwood, which worked okay sometimes, on a good day, if shaken extremely well. Silk didn't steam as well as Wildwood from my experience, but either way, I am yet to find a soy milk that steams to my satisfaction. So it occurred to me, why didn't we ever try some "barista soy milk?"
So I took a stroll onto the Straus Family Creamery website to get a better idea of what makes barista milk barista milk in the first place. According to the website, Straus determined the perfect level of homogenization: "We homogenize our Barista milk only very lightly – just enough to keep it emulsified, but not so much as to drastically change the taste or digestibility of our milk." (Emulsify means to mix or disperse evenly.) This makes for "consistent, easy-to-use milk (no cream separates or rises to the top), that also retains a sweet, well-rounded taste and lasting finish... It is also prized by baristas for creating small, tight bubbles in the foam when steamed for coffee drinks." Which sounds great, don't get me wrong, but only applies to cow's milk.
Although some cafes swear by Straus, they only deal in actual dairy, so I decided to dig a little deeper. My mission to track down steamable soy was a success. Behold: Soy Milk, Barista Series by Esselon Coffee: "S Now all I need is a steamer to test the stuff... Can anyone vouch for Esselon? Anyway, try it and let me know--post a comment below.