Milk Steaming Temperature: How Hot To Make Lattes & Cappuccinos?

 Last Updated October 4, 2023

How hot should you steam your milk for lattes and cappuccinos? In this post I'm giving a barista's guide on what's the correct temperature to steam milk. I'll be covering both dairy and alternative milks, and what happens when you steam your milk too hot!

Milk steaming temperature
  • You should steam dairy milk between 55-65 °C (131 - 149 °F)
  • You should not dairy steam your milk hotter than 70°C (158 °F), otherwise the milk starts to burn, break down, and taste bad.
  • For alternative plant based milks, you want to steam them a little cooler between 55 - 60 °C (131 - 140 °F)  as they start to burn earlier compared to dairy.
  • For latte art, I recommend steaming a little cooler between 55 - 60 °C (131 - 140 °F) as you get better milk texture for latte art.

What temperature should you steam your milk to?

No one wants a latte that's too hot or cold. Too cold and the drink tastes bad with lack of texture in the milk. Too hot and the milk will taste burnt, over frothed, and be a safety hazard (although some customers like this).

But what is the ideal temperature for the drink? Well, the answers depends on what type of milk you are using, but generally, you want to stay between 55-65 °C (131 - 149 °F) from my experience as a barista (also recommended by the Speciality Coffee Association). Below I cover the correct temperature for each milk type in a table, before getting into more details. 

Milk froth temperature table

Milk Type

Min Temp

Max Temp


55 °C (149 °F)

65 °C (149 °F)


55 °C (149 °F)

60 °C (140 °F)


55 °C (149 °F)

60 °C (140 °F)


55 °C (149 °F)

60 °C (140 °F)

What temperature should you steam dairy milk?

Dairy milk is the most popular milk you'll steam as a barista. For dairy, you want to keep the milk temperature between 55-65 °C (131 - 149 °F). This range is the ideal temp for drinking and getting good texture in you milk. If you go too hot, over 70°C (158 °F), the milk will start to burn and taste bad. 

Frothed Milk temperature

If you're learning, a milk thermomotor is a great tool to get your temp right. 

What temperature should you steam alternative milk? Oat, Almond, and Soy.

Alternative plant based milks have a lower max temperature. You want to steam them a little cooler than dairy milk and keep the temperature between 55 - 60 °C (131 - 140 °F). This range gives you the best tasting milk and brings out the sweetness of it. If you go too hot, the milks will over froth and smell bad! This temp range applies when steaming oat milk, almond milk, and soy.

Milk froth temperature for plant milk

A latte art swan I made with oat milk.

What's the best milk temperature for latte art?

For latte art, I've found that you get the best milk texture when you steam a little cooler between 55 - 60 °C (131 - 140 °F) - ideally closer to 55 degrees (131 °F). This is because as your milk temperature goes up, the proteins within the milk expand and get bigger to make big bubbles. Big bubbles are not good for latte art. You want your microfoam to be small and smooth. Small microfoam makes the best looking latte art. 

Latte art milk temperature

The right milk temperature allows you to make better latte art.

When to stop steaming milk to get your desired temperature?

You want to stop steaming your milk 3-5 degrees before your desired temperature. This is because when you stop steaming your milk, the temperature within the jug will still continue to rise by 3-5 °C (37.4 - 41 °F) even after you stop frothing. So, if you want your milk at 65 degrees, stop steaming at 60 degrees.

Should you use a thermomotor when steaming milk?

If you’re just starting out with milk frothing, I recommend using a milk frothing thermomotor to make sure you get the right temp. Especially when a customer asks for a super-hot coffee. This will help you learn how hot to make your coffees.

After making coffee for a while, you'll be able to sense when the milk as come to temperature by the touch of the milk jug and the sound of the milk (when milk starts getting hot the pitch of the frothing changes).

Thermometer in Milk Jug

Get the correct milk froth thermometer. 

What to do if your customers like burnt milk?

If you make coffee in a cafe, you'll get a share of customers that want their coffee super-hot! Burnt to a crisp hot! However, if you go over 70 degrees the milk will taste bad and also become a safety hazard.

For these types of customers what I recommend doing is pre-warming your cappuccino cup with boiling water. So, when they touch the cup, they will get the sensation that it is super-hot, while in reality the milk will be between 65-70 degrees - the max hotness before the milk over froths and gets burnt. This way your customer will perceive a dangerously hot coffee, while still tasting good and being safe.


I hope you've now learnt how hot to make your milk based coffees. Getting your milk temp right will result in a better tasting coffee for you and your customers. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below.

About The Author 

Ivan Bez

Ivan is the founder of Latte Art Guide and a barista with 10 years of experience. He loves coffee and aims to help people improve their coffee making skills.

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