Is there anything more relaxing than sitting back with a freshly made coffee and taking a few moments for yourself? We have to agree that it is one of life’s little pleasures, but the problem is that many people struggle to make a barista-style coffee at home. While it might not always be possible to head down to your local Starbucks or Costa Coffee, it is possible to produce amazingly similar results at home using a milk frother.
One of the greatest advantages of using a milk frother is that you can add a completely new dimension to your drink. Without one, it can be incredibly difficult to create the type of dense foam you would need for some of the most popular coffee-based drinks such as latte and cappuccino. While you might be thinking that’s just another bit of kit I need to buy, you’ll be pleased to know that a milk frother won’t break the bank.
What does a milk frother do to coffee?
When you add plain milk to your coffee, it doesn’t do much to the texture other than make it a little creamier and thicker. But it’s not very noticeable. However, using a milk frother will give your beverage a much denser and richer texture that is remarkably similar to what you would be served by a professional barista.
This may sound like a complicated process but it is very simple. The milk frother is used to aerate the milk causing tiny bubbles to appear throughout it. Not only does this increase the overall volume of the milk but it brings an entirely new feel to it, turning it into a thick foam.
Which is the best kind of frother to use?
There are several types of milk frother that you can use at home and which you choose will depend on a variety of factors including your budget and how much effort you want to put into using the device.
- Manual milk frothers are operated by hand and will take around 20 seconds to produce results. They have a design that is not unlike a coffee press which features a hand pump. These are typically the least expensive.
- An automatic milk frother is one of the largest types of frother but is ideal if you are looking to create several drinks in one go. You simply load in the milk, press a button and let the machine create your foam.
- Handheld electric milk frothers are similar in design to an electric whisk and can, in fact, be used in the same way. You simply insert the attachment into the milk and turn it on. The fast spinning motion creates those all-important air bubbles.
Milk frothers at a glance
Is homemade frothy coffee as good as Starbucks?
Where a coffee is made does not determine its quality. You could go to your local coffee house and be served a drink by the newest member of the team who is still undergoing training. Alternatively, you could receive one made by the most experienced barista the cafe has ever known. You see, it is more about how the coffee is made. So, while places like Starbucks do have all the right equipment to create a delicious drink, the person making the coffee can also play a role in how good it is.
It is, therefore, perfectly feasible to assume that you could make a tasty, professional coffee right in your own kitchen. All you need is the right equipment and a bit of know-how. A milk frother will give you a massive boost when making coffee and could mean the difference between bland and brilliant!
Another important thing to keep in mind is that the type of milk you use can dramatically alter the results. Whole milk will give you a much richer and denser foam that is reminiscent of the drinks you would be served in a professional coffee house. It is possible to use lighter milks, but the bubbles will typically be larger and you won’t get that rich, foamy consistency that you are trying to achieve.
What different coffees can I make with a milk frother?
There are so many advantages to owning a milk frother and one of those that really stands out is how versatile these unassuming pieces of equipment are. If you like to experiment in the kitchen and whip up a range of different drinks then a milk frother will allow you to do this. Essentially, the world is your oyster, but here are some of the most popular drinks you can make with a milk frother; all coffee-based, of course.
- Latte is one of the most popular foamed milk drinks and is light and creamy.
- Cappuccino is a delicious blend between the bitterness of coffee and the creamy texture of the frothed milk.
- Macchiato is ideal if you like a stronger hit of espresso topped with beautiful foamy milk.
- Dirty chai latte is a take on the traditional Indian chai drink that is filled with spices and blended with a cheeky shot of rich espresso, topped with frothed milk.
- Mocha is a blend between coffee and chocolate and is ideal for those with a sweet tooth. Of course, it is finished off with a dash of delicious foamed milk.
How do I make cappuccino with a milk frother?
Cappuccino is one of the reasons that a lot of people decide to get a milk frother in the first place. This is an incredibly popular drink and consists of a blend of coffee and milk. The drink is typically lightly sprinkled with chocolate powder and served in a large mug.
While the drink might look a little complicated, it is actually very easy to make and a great place for beginners to start. You will need to prepare a shot of espresso using your favourite brand of coffee beans or, if you prefer, selecting fresh coffee beans. You’ll need a French press for this but make sure that, when you add the ground coffee beans, the water is a little cooler than boiling. Any hotter and this can scald the coffee, drastically altering its taste.
When you have allowed your coffee to brew, transfer it to your chosen cup. While the coffee is brewing, you can be working on your foamy milk. For the purposes of this guide, we are going to assume that you will be using a manual or electric frother with whole milk.
Start working on the milk until it reaches the correct density. You’ll want it to resemble something similar to shaving foam with delicate, little bubbles.
At this point, all you need to do is pour the milk over the coffee. But this is where a lot of people go wrong. To get the perfect cappuccino mix that doesn’t end up looking like a latte, you will need to make sure that you pour the frothed milk directly over the coffee as opposed to down the side of the cup. This is because, in a cappuccino, the milk should float on top of the coffee rather than mixing with it. Now, add your chosen chocolate powder, put your feet up and enjoy!
How do I make a latte with a milk frother?
Latte is the perfect coffee drink for when you want something creamy and soothing. It is made in a very similar way to a cappuccino and much like the last method, you will need to prepare a shot of espresso before beginning.
Once your coffee is blended, you can once again take your milk frother and get to work. The texture should be similar to that of a cappuccino although some people prefer it a little less dense. The great thing about making your coffee drinks at home is that you can froth the milk to your liking.
If you don’t have a milk frother, you can achieve similar results with a normal hand whisk, although this may take a little longer.
Once you have prepared the milk, it is time to add it to the coffee. Pour your espresso into a latte glass (if you don’t have one, it is perfectly acceptable to use any cup you have to hand.) This time, you should pour the frothed milk down the side of the glass so that it blends with the espresso leaving a delicate layer of foam on the top.
Common milk frother questions
Can I do latte art with a milk frother?
When you visit your local coffee shop, the barista will typically use steam to create those beautiful designs we often see on latte and cappuccino drinks. But you don’t need all of that fancy equipment to get similarly impressive results at home; you can use your milk frother to make latte art.
To do this, you will need a jug frother as this will give you greater control over the design. You will also need to make sure that you choose the right blend for your design. If you go for a darker blend then you will get a more intense contrast in colours but this shouldn’t come at the cost of the overall taste.
Once your milk is frothed, you can begin to pour it. The best approach is to start higher up, moving the jug downwards, towards the cup to create your art. Starting lower down won’t allow the milk enough force to penetrate the coffee and will likely spoil your design. However, this will take some experimentation and a little trial and error so just enjoy the process.
Do you froth milk before or after making the coffee?
Most expert baristas would agree that the foamed milk needs to be added to the coffee as soon as it is ready, this would suggest that the milk should be made in advance. However, if you are looking to save time, then you could prepare your milk foam while your coffee is brewing.
Do I use hot or cold milk when I make a coffee with a milk frother?
In truth, you can use milk at whatever temperature you please but this doesn’t mean that you will get the same results. It is widely accepted that using cold milk will produce a much thicker and luxurious foam. For this reason, there are a lot of coffee lovers who will store their frothing jug in the fridge, ready to fill it with ice cold milk.
You might be concerned about adding cooler milk to your coffee but rest assured that during the frothing process, the temperature of the milk will change and you will notice much denser bubbles for a richer foam.
However, when you froth warm milk it tastes much sweeter than foam made with cold milk. This means the coffee you make with warm milk will be much sweeter so you don’t have to worry about adding sugar if you have a sweet tooth.
Do I need a milk frothing jug?
You can froth your milk in any container that you wish but if you want to create a true barista style experience at home then using a frothing jug is a great way to do that. You will usually use this with a thermometer which allows you to correctly judge the temperature of the milk, creating the perfect coffee every time.
Milk frothing jugs are normally made from stainless steel which makes them lightweight and durable. What’s more, and as we mentioned earlier, if you are looking to create latte art then the spout on the milk frothing jug will be invaluable.
A milk frother is an essential tool for anyone who wants to make barista-style coffee in their own home. While they come in many shapes and styles, all milk frothers aim to produce the same results; thick, creamy, foamy milk that can be used to make some of the most delicious and well-loved coffees in the world. It might take a while to learn how to artfully use this piece of equipment but once you’re comfortable, you and your guests will always enjoy the taste of fresh, bubble coffee.
This week’s most popular milk frothers
- The Milk Easy will beep twice to tell you it’s finished.
- Maximum capacity for milk frothing 120 (internal level indicator: foam) ml
- Maximum capacity for milk heating 180 (internal level indicator: milk) ml
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