I just love that feeling I get when I am making steaming milk. There is something about creating that phenomenal consistency of what I like to call "hot whipped cream". Although, it is not whipping cream. The milk froth just becomes thicker and creamier looking and gives a rich feeling on your palate as you drink it... sort of like whipped cream that has been placed upon a hot beverage and has begun to melt. Oh, that sheen of creaminess on top.
I believe part of my fascination with steaming milk is the fact that it spirals around and around and around. I know that this spiraling effect will give me the best consistency to work with for making some sort of latte art.
My favorite one is fairly simple: all you do is steam it as you would for a latte and pour it in carefully as to make as perfect of a circle of white foam in the middle. I then quickly use the thermometer end to swirl the edges, wiping it after each swirl with a bleach rag (this ensures clean looking swirls). Then, I lightly dip the very tip into the crema-licious-espresso-frothy-milk side of the latte surface to draw eyes, a nose, and a mouth. And there you have it, my liquid sunshine!
I mastered liquid sunshine while working at Sweet Mermaids in Ketchikan, Alaska as their lead Barista. I did this one quite often because it rains like crazy in Ketchikan and many who visit via cruise ships aren't aware of the rainy weather before they set foot on board their ship... I figured I'd give them a little sunshine if I could.