More and more people are getting to grips with coffee making equipment that allows them to create their favourite drinks at home without ever having to set foot out of the door. But one thing that causes a lot of confusion is what the best equipment is for making coffee. Or at least if you want a sweet, frothy coffee like you buy in a high street chain.
The coffee machine and the milk frother are two important tools for making a great cuppa but it is also possible to buy a machine that features the ability to make coffee and froth milk. So what should you buy? Let’s take a closer look at your options.
Differences between coffee machines and milk frothers
There are a lot of people that are unfamiliar with the function and differences between a coffee machine and a milk frother. Some think that both will perform the same function but this is not the case. While there are coffee machines that have built-in milk frothers, each piece of equipment is used for different tasks.
A coffee machine is a piece of equipment that is designed with the sole purpose of making coffee. You can get different types, which we will look at later, but in any case, you will use this to make the initial espresso shot or coffee.
On the other hand, a milk frother is a tool that is used to alter the texture of milk. A lot of coffee-based drinks rely on the addition of foamed milk and this is where your milk frother comes in.
Using high speed action similar to a whisk, the milk frother causes tiny air bubbles to build up in the milk, expanding it and making it into a light, creamy foam.
Different types of coffee machine
Depending on how you want to make your coffee, there are a lot of choices and different types of coffee machine.
- One of the most simple coffee machines is the French press, sometimes called a cafetiere. This uses a plunger and coffee grounds and is a manual device that is easy to use.
- Pod machines are convenient and offer a quick and easy way to make a cup of your favourite coffee. The work by inserting your chosen pod into the machine and pressing the button. Very easy and works really well with a milk frother.
- A filter coffee machine is an electric device which provides another very convenient way to make coffee. They are cost effective and work by dripping water through the coffee grounds into a large jug which makes them ideal for making multiple drinks at once.
- An espresso maker is great for people who want to use fresh coffee grounds but do not have the ability to ground beans like more advanced machines. They are easy to use and can be adjusted to alter the strength and taste of the coffee. This is the most popular coffee maker to use in conjunction with a milk frother.
- Barista coffee machines, sometimes called bean to cup machines, offer the greatest diversity and will allow coffee nuts to make professional coffee with just one device. They are typically much pricier but many come with a milk frother attached.
Is it best to buy a coffee maker and separate milk frother?
The answer to this question relies on looking at several factors. For example, if you don’t want to spend as much money then buying a separate coffee machine and milk frother is going to save pennies. However, you must keep in mind that you will have more steps to complete to make your drink and more to clean up.
Moreover, it is important to think about how you will use the machines. For people who want to make large servings of coffee then a barista machine with a built-in milk frother will work very well.
But most of us who enjoy a regular cup of coffee the low cost of the milk frother and separate coffee machine will be far more suitable.
Advantages of a barista coffee machine
A barista coffee machine offers you much greater convenience when it comes to making coffee since you don’t need to worry about having multiple pieces of equipment for a single cup of coffee. What’s more, these machines are extremely quick with some producing a cup of coffee in less than a minute. If you are pushed for time, this is a no brainer.
For people who make a lot of coffee or want the option to make drinks for several people at once, this is a great solution. Furthermore, this is the closest you will get to a real barista style coffee that you would have in a cafe.
While they are more expensive than other options, they are usually very well built and should be seen as an investment.
Why buy a milk frother?
A milk frother is an incredibly inexpensive tool and this is one of the main reasons that people go for this option. You can pick up a handheld one for a few pounds and even the more advanced models rarely exceed £50, and that’s for something top of the range.
But just because they are affordable, that isn’t to say that they aren’t extremely reliable and functional. These small appliances do an excellent job at creating foamed milk, so much so that you could be forgiven for thinking that the milk was frothed by a pro barista.
Having a milk frother will allow you to create a wealth of coffee drinks including lattes and cappuccinos in a short amount of time. They are easy to clean, low-maintenance and very simple to use.
Best value – coffee machine or milk frother?
Both products have value in their own way. A milk frother is typically much cheaper than a coffee machine but it is difficult to make the perfect coffee if you don’t have both appliances.
Of course, you could use your kettle and some instant coffee but that will never have the same flavour and effect as coffee made from fresh beans or grounds.
A milk frother can be purchased for as little as a few pounds with more expensive jug heater frothers going up to around £50. For a coffee maker, you might pay upwards of £25 for a French press or into the hundreds for a top of the range barista machine.
What should I buy?
The type of coffee you want to make and how often will play a role in whether you are better suited to a barista coffee machine or a coffee maker and a separate milk frother. While the latter is a more affordable option, you do need to have more equipment.
That said, the cheap price of the milk frother is incredible when you think about how effectively these appliances create foamed milk.
Whether you decide on a milk frother or a coffee machine you have plenty to choose from. Probably too much choice. So, let’s narrow the options down a bit.
Best milk frothers
Best barista coffee machines
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