|Not a shining example of skill|
- Cold steamer. In the fridge if you can, otherwise you can run it under the tap. I don't profess to understand science, but this helps.
- For soy, you want to stop right before the steamer gets too hot to comfortably leave your hand on it.
- The steam head should be at a angle in your cup, off-centered and barely submerged. It shouldn't make a hissing/bubbling noise and it shouldn't make a screaming noise. If it is screaming, the steam head is too deep. Hissing/bubbling means too shallow. Angling the steam head off-center gets a whirlpool thing going on, right cuts down on the big bubbles soy milk loves to produce when steamed.
- Pouring is still a somewhat mysterious art to me - pour slowly until you have a knuckle or so of cup left, then pour quicker. If your steamer does not have straight edges, your life will suck - I still haven't found a good way to get the foam to pour without basically dumping the entire thing in or precisely measuring the milk so I naturally only have foam at the end.
These rules are partially learned when I was a "barista" at the coffee stand in the convenience store in the dorm cafe (see why I put barista in quotes?), partially learned from the internets, partially from experience, and frequently cargo-culted from the fine baristas at area coffee shops. They mostly work, and I get something which is good enough to prevent me from going to 4b, sightglass, or blue bottle everyday (nowhere near those guys, though).