How to use a milk frother thermometer

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For many coffee users and milk frother owners a thermometer is a redundant piece of kit. Automatic espresso machines and electric frothers take the guesswork out of heating coffee and milk. It’s all done for you. Automatic shut offs guarantee the heating process stops once the pre-programmed temperature is reached.

So, why on earth would anyone still use a milk frother thermometer nowadays? Well, there are a couple of very good reasons.

The first is that not everyone agrees what the right temperature should be and, secondly, if you’re using a manual method of brewing your coffee or heating and foaming your milk a milk frother thermometer is essential.

Let’s look at those in more detail before we get into the nitty gritty on how to use a milk frother thermometer.

What is the right temperature for frothy coffee?

Let’s see if we’re on the same page here. Have you ever gone into Starbucks or Costa (if you’re in the UK), stood in line, paid your money for your coffee and by the time you’ve sat down the drink is warm and not hot? I suspect you know what I’m saying.

Coffee houses make their drinks to a certain temperature. They claim its hot but its’s probably more on the warm side. It’s around 65 degrees. While this is a nice drinkable temperature some of us (I suspect most of us) like a hotter drink.

keep your coffee hot

There are probably two reasons why coffee shops make drinks to a warm, not hot, and certainly not boiling temperature. Firstly, it helps to ensure sit down customers don’t linger and secondly it avoids nasty lawsuits should a customer spill their drink (accidentally or otherwise) on themselves.

That second reason is probably why coffee machine makers also limit the temperature of the drinks their products dispense.

As for what is the ideal temperature – anywhere between 65 – 80 degrees is my opinion. Any colder and your coffee will only be lukewarm, any hotter and you run the risk of burning the coffee or milk. However, I accept there are plenty who say that when brewing coffee (not heating milk) the temperature should be as high as 95 degrees.

Why you need a milk frother thermometer

If you’re using a manual method of heating your milk (microwave or stovetop) a milk frother thermometer will be invaluable.

It’s easy to burn milk so keeping a close eye on the temperature is so important.

Equally if you’re brewing your coffee in a moka pot a thermometer can be useful if you want to make sure you don’t overheat the coffee which will cause it to become bitter.

But it’s when manually heating milk for frothing that a thermometer comes into its own.

How to use a milk frother thermometer

Using a milk frother thermometer is very easy. The temperature gauge is mounted on top of a metal probe. Simply insert the probe into the milk (or coffee) and the needle will travel around the dial to indicate the temperature.

You can see this in the short video below.

Most milk frothers, like the one in the video, will have the ideal temperature highlighted in red. But again, this is subjective. However, as I mentioned above the sweet spot is generally acknowledged to be between 65 and 75 degrees.

Ok, I’m convinced. But which milk frother thermometer should I buy?

As you’d expect these thermometers are very affordable. You’ll pick them up for well under £10 ($13). Avoid the cheap and nasty thermometers with stick on gauges and go for the best makes. I personally use this one by Andrew James.

But you can get even better value by purchasing a milk frother jug and thermometer combo. Avoid the jugs with the gimmicky digital style thermometers. They are just stickers and don’t tend to be very accurate. To learn more you can read our guide on milk frothing jugs.

Otherwise, the best-selling milk frother thermometers on Amazon are listed below.

Bestseller No. 1
KitchenCraft KCMILKTH Milk Thermometer, Stainless Steel, Silver
  • THE BARISTA'S BEST-KEPT SECRET: This milk thermometer makes it easy to steam milk to the ideal...
  • CONVENIENT CLIP: The thermometer clips onto your jug or pan, so you can keep a close eye on the...
  • FROTH ZONE: When the dial hits red, your milk is at the ideal temperature for delicious...
Bestseller No. 2
Milk Thermometer for Coffee with 175 mm Stainless Steel Probe Coffee Thermometer with Clip Professional Barista Milk Temperature Frothing Thermometer Coffee Machine Accessories
  • MILK FROTHING THERMOMETER - High quality Barista milk thermometer for coffee with colour coded...
  • GREAT FOR FANCY COFFEE - An ideal tool for every coffee lover. Fast and easy temperature...
  • CAN IT BE CALIBRATED - Yes, the milk frothing thermometer can be calibrated and has ice test...
Bestseller No. 3
Milk Thermometer,INRIGOROUS Pack of 2 Stainless Steel Milk Frother Thermometer with Clips and Probe for Coffee, Jam and Liquid Frothing (Pack of 2)
  • Flexible design of the fixed clip, adjust the milk thermometer read the location of the disk...
  • This milk frothing thermometer will accurately measure the temperature when heating milk or...
  • This Dial thermometer has a range of 0°C~100°C (-10 to 220 °F), Large dial, you can reads...
Bestseller No. 4
Milk Thermometer and 600ml Milk Frother Jug for Perfect Barista Style Coffee Making Great for Frothy Latte Cappuccino
  • MILK JUG AND THERMOMETER - Barista Kit Includes: 1 x 175mm Milk Thermometer and 1 x 600ml Milk...
  • EASY TO USE MILK THERMOMETER - Milk thermometer incorporates blue, yellow, green and red zones...
  • MAKE PERFECT BARISTA COFFEE - It assists in making the perfect Barista style coffee including...
Bestseller No. 5
Andrew James Milk Thermometer with Clip for Frothing Jug | Stainless Steel Thermometer and Probe | Celsius and Fahrenheit Scale | Coffee Accessory
  • STAINLESS STEEL MILK THERMOMETER WITH CLIP -- Ensure your frothed milk stays sweet, not bitter,...
  • LARGE EASY-READ DIAL -- The perfect temperature between 65°C and 70°C is clearly marked on...
  • INCLUDES CLIP FOR FROTHING JUG -- Keep your hands free for frothing and foaming by clipping...

 

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