There are several ways that you can get milk to froth and take on that light, airy texture that is perfect for adding into your favourite coffee drinks. But many of these involve complex methods that could be made so much simpler by using a milk frother.
However, a lot of people feel that this is just another thing that they have to buy for the kitchen and think twice about buying one. But what’s the truth? Are milk frothers worth it? If you’re a lover of frothy coffee can you get by without one? In this guide, we will be looking at the pros and cons of using a milk frother at home.
What is a milk frother – in a nutshell
If you’ve ever purchased a coffee like a latte or a cappuccino from your local coffee shop then you will have seen the barista adding frothed milk to give the drink texture. But to get foam when you make coffee at home, you need a special tool, and that’s where your milk frother comes in.
A milk frother is a handheld electric tool that is inserted into a container of milk, agitating the liquid until its volume increases and tiny air bubbles are formed.
There are sophisticated barista style coffee machines that come with built-in milk frothers but for home use, you can choose between the handheld appliances, manual frothers or the automatic kettle like devices which froth milk at the touch of a button.
You can find out more about these different types by reading our article – What are milk frothers and how do you use them?
What are the benefits of using a milk frother?
There are so many benefits to using a milk frother and once you start using one, you’ll likely never go back to frothing milk in any other way.
For cappuccino lovers, adding foam to their coffees at home has long seemed impossible until they discover these small, affordable tools. So, with that in mind, let’s look at some benefits of milk frothers.
They are easy to use
If you go out and buy a complex coffee machine, the chances are that you will be sitting and reading the user manual for a decent amount of time before you can get started. The beauty of using a milk frother at home is that they are incredibly simple to use; even if it’s your first time.
What’s more, where some methods of frothing milk may be quite time consuming, you can whip up some milky foam in around 30 seconds with a handheld or manual device while an automatic frother can heat the milk and make the foam in around two minutes.
No matter which frother you have they are so easy to use and anyone can become a barista in their own home.
One of the biggest things for a lot of coffee lovers is the option to create coffee art. Now, it is important that we point out that your milk frother alone won’t allow you to create latte art, it will provide you with the base to do it.
You see, when your barista makes coffee art, they will typically use steamed milk but as more and more people are getting to grips with how to do this in other ways, the milk frother is becoming an indispensable tool.
Keep your drinks traditional
OK, you could go out and buy some of those packet lattes that require nothing more than some hot water and a quick stir, they are very cheap. But, you can’t compare these instant beverages with the wonderful, luxurious frothy coffees you can make with good quality beans and a milk frother.
If you want a true coffee shop experience at home, having the right tools is a must. Your milk frother will allow you to create these traditional-style coffee drinks without an instant packet in sight!
They are versatile
There are some things that can only be done using hot milk but one of the greatest things about a milk frother is that it will work well with hot and cold milk. If it’s versatility, you’re after, you’re in luck.
Many of the other methods for frothing milk require you to heat up the liquid before or after frothing and this can be more time consuming. And to be quite blunt – why on earth would you bother?
However, if for some reason you want to forsake the convenience and power of a milk frother you can learn how by reading this article – How to froth milk without a frother.
We’ve said it once, and we will say it again; a milk frother isn’t the only way to get foamy, frothy milk. But it is the best way. Since this tool is specifically designed for the job, you won’t get as good quality results using any other method.
What are the downsides of milk frothers?
We are massively on the side of milk frothers because we know how easily and quickly they create beautiful foamy milk. However, nothing is perfect and there are just a couple of downsides to consider about milk frothers.
Since most milk frothers are electrically operated, there is the issue of not being able to clean them in the dishwasher which for those of us who don’t enjoy putting on the marigolds. However, there are some that come with carafes which can be removed and cleaned in the dishwasher or hot, soapy water.
Depending on the model, the time it takes to froth milk can vary. But for the most part, you can expect to have frothy milk in 30 seconds to two minutes.
Some milk frothers can get pretty expensive, if you want a more high-end model. Though a top quality handheld model will only set you back £15 or so.
Why do you need a frother?
One of the most important reasons that a lot of people choose to invest in a milk frother is that it can totally change the texture of your drink. Without foamy milk, your coffee will be flat and unexciting but the moment you introduce frothy milk, you have a drink that is much more interesting and professional-looking.
What’s more, if you are unable to get to the coffee shop, having a milk frother at home will help you to ensure that you are always able to make a delicious, frothy coffee.
How much should you pay for a milk frother?
The price of a milk frother can vary dramatically. There are some models out there that can go into the hundreds. But it really isn’t necessary to spend that much. While you can pick up an electric milk frother for around £10-£15, if you are looking for an automatic appliance, you may expect to pay in the region of £30-£50.
Should I get a milk frother – the final verdict
If you’re serious about your coffee, or even if you just enjoy the occasional foamy treat, if you love frothy cappuccino, creamy cafe latte or exotic dalgona – yes you should, in fact you must, get a milk frother.
There’s no way you can consistently and easily make barista style Italian coffee at home without a milk frother in your kitchen cupboard. Buy one today.
So, yes you should buy a milk frother. I think we’ve explained why. The question now becomes; Which milk frother should I buy? Allow me to help you with that.
Which milk frother should I buy?
This very much depends on how often you’ll be using it and whether you’re always in a rush or can take your time making your coffee. Let’s look at your options.
If you’re looking for convenience and speed you should buy a handheld milk frother. They are mostly battery powered though some can be charged by USB, but all have a plastic body with a stainless steel whisk. These are undoubtedly the most popular type of milk frother.
They do vary widely in quality but the better models are very robust, incredibly easy to use and, most importantly, they make a wonderful dense and rich foam. And they do so in around 30 seconds.
Our recommended handheld frother is the Zulay Milk Boss. You can read our in-depth review here. But there are other options:
Top 3 handheld milk frothers
Your other option is an electric or automatic milk frother. As we explained earlier these are kettle like appliances (though much smaller) which can make hot or cold foam or heat milk. They are super convenient. Simply pour in the milk, press the button and two minutes later you have perfectly frothed milk at exactly the right temperature.
They take a bit more cleaning than a handheld device but the advantage is that you don’t have to warm the milk separately and worry about getting the right temperature. With an automatic frother it’s all done for you in one device.
Our recommended automatic frother is the HaddinEEon. You can read our in-depth review here. Other options include:
Top 3 automatic milk frothers
This article contains affiliate links. Please see our disclosure notice for further information.