Can a milk frother make hot chocolate as well as the Velvetiser? Can Hotel Chocolat’s Velvetiser compete with milk frothers on price and value for money? Is a Velvetiser as good as a milk frother in making foam? Can it make frothy coffee? Do you need a Velvetiser if you already have a milk frother? So many questions.
We’ll provide all the answers in this article as well as providing plenty more insights into determining a winner in our Velvetiser vs milk frother grudge match. Seconds out…
Velvetiser vs milk frother – the ground rules
There are not too many rules here, but I want to ensure we’re comparing apples to apples. You’ll see as you read the article that I’ve tried to ensure a fair comparison. For example, I’ll be comparing the Velvetiser to not one but two types of milk frother – electric and handheld models.
And, when it comes to making drinks, we’ll use the same hot chocolate pouches for Velvetiser and frothers, but we’ll also see how they compare to each other when it comes to making frothy coffee. And we’ll use the same espresso machine to ensure a level playing field.
Obviously, I had the Velvetiser. The handheld frother was the Zulay Milk Boss and the electric frother was by Nobebird – a generic Chinese device.
Best Hot Chocolate maker
2 – Handheld milk frother
2 – Electric milk frother
Best Milk Frother
1- Handheld milk frother
2 – Electric milk frother
3 – Velvetiser
Read on to find out more about those results.
Perfect hot chocolate
If you’re thinking of buying Hotel Chocolat’s Velvetiser you must be a fan of frothy hot chocolate. And the Velvetiser is a brilliant hot chocolate machine, but the good news is that you really can make a superior choccy drink in the comfort of your own home with a milk frother too. Let’s briefly look at each device before we begin our comparison.
Hotel Chocolat’s Velvetiser
Ever since it was launched the Velvetiser has received rave reviews (including from myself). From the first time you use it you’ll be a huge fan. I mean, who doesn’t want luxurious hot chocolate at the touch of a button?
It’s an amazingly simple device to use. Pop in the magnetic whisk, pour in the milk, add the chocolate flakes, and press the button. A round two and a half minutes later you’ll have a rich, frothy, and very tasty hot chocolate.
Automatic milk frother
The frother I used for this comparison is one by Nobebird. It’s a typical Chinese import with three functions; hot foam, cold foam, and heat milk. I chose this model simply because it was the first one I grabbed out of the cupboard. But it’s a decent frother which is typical of its type.
A difference between the electric milk frother and the Velvetiser is that there is no heat control with the Hotel Chocolat machine. It doesn’t have different settings but simply heats (and froths) milk. An electric milk frother on the other hand can be used to make foam for cold drinks.
Handheld milk frother
I chose the Zulay Milk Boss as this has been my go-to frother for quite some time. It’s an incredibly powerful little device that makes great foam. You can even use it for either task so it’s a versatile little kitchen appliance. There are cheaper alternatives but as I’ve used it many times to make hot chocolate, it is the perfect milk frother to stack up against the Velvetiser.
What do they have in common?
More than you’d think. Each device is easy to use and the Velvetiser and electric frother have a non-stick interior. Easy cleaning is a feature of all, and a quick rinse is all it takes to get each device ready for action. And, even more importantly, using any of these devices is, as we shall see, a fantastic way to make hot chocolate or a milky coffee.
What about the price tag?
This is where it gets ugly. The Velvetiser is way more expensive than most milk frothers. Eye wateringly so. Typically, you’d expect to pay:
Electric milk frother £45.
Handheld milk frother £15.
Now, the prices above are a general guide. The Velvetiser stays around the same price but the price I’ve quoted for an electric milk frother is mid-range.
There are some electric or automatic milk frothers such as the Severin SM3587 or the SMEG milk frother that can cost up to £100. But they have many different programmes and variable speeds. The Severin for example has 13 different settings but there are cheaper alternatives.
In this article we’re trying to compare like for like so I’ll stick to the mid-range electric frothers. These typically have only three different settings; hot foam, cold froth, and hot milk. The Velvetiser can’t do cold milk froth of course but it can make warm foam, so the comparison is valid.
The price I’ve quoted for the handheld milk frother will get you a premium, top of the range device. You can pick up a cheap, poor-quality handheld frother for a few pounds. Ikea famously sells a £1 milk frother. But why would you buy one when you can get the absolute best like the Zulay Milk Boss for just £15?
So, pricewise, the Velvetiser can’t compete with a milk frother. But can a milk frother make silky-smooth hot chocolate like the Velvetiser?
Read more: Is the Velvetiser worth it?
Creamy hot chocolate
Ok, let’s get down to the nitty gritty and compare the three devices on how they make hot chocolate, and we’ll do a second test on how they make a cappuccino.
Hotel Chocolat chocolate flakes
You can of course make flakes using the chocolate of your choice but for a proper comparison and to really evaluate the Velvetiser against the frothers I used Hotel Chocolat flakes. There are loads of different flavours to choose from, but I opted for Black Forest. Which was selfish of me as I absolutely love this flavour. I don’t feel bad though as I got to drink two cups of delicious and exceedingly above average hot chocolate.
Hang on – two cups?
That’s right. The electric milk frother just can’t handle chocolate flakes. As you can see from the photo below the size of the whisk in the frother compared to the Velvetiser is tiny. It just didn’t mix the flakes very well at all.
To be fair the manufacturers do say not to try and mix flakes in the frother as it could burn out the motor, and this is true of most electric milk frothers. One or two such as the Severin SM 3587 do have a hot chocolate function but that is very much an exception to the rule. You could use cocoa powder easily enough, but chocolate flakes or chunks are a definite no-no.
So, for the title of best hot chocolate maker we’re down to two contenders. The Velvetiser vs handheld milk frother. And there really wasn’t much to choose between them.
Using the Hotel Chocolat Black Forest hot chocolate pouches both produced a tasty and silky-smooth cup of hot chocolate. There was hardly any difference proving you can make Hotel Chocolat hot chocolate without the Velvetiser.
Of course, the process of making a fresh cup of hot chocolate is hugely different when you use a Velvetiser compared to a milk frother. The main difference is that if you’re using a handheld milk frother you will heat milk separately using the hob or, as I do, the microwave. Here’s the process broken down for each device.
1 – Ensure the magnetic whisk is in place.
2 – Pour in the milk.
3 – Add chocolate flakes.
4 – Switch on.
5 – Enjoy your cup of frothy hot chocolate.
Handheld milk frother
1 – Pour milk into a microwave proof glass jug.
2 – Add chocolate flakes.
3 – Put the jug in the microwave for around two minutes.
4 – Remove the jug from the microwave and give it a quick stir with a long spoon.
5 – Insert the whisk head of the milk frother into the liquid.
6 – Switch on the frother and whisk for around 30 seconds.
7 – Pour your hot chocolate into your favourite mug and enjoy.
It’s obvious that making hot chocolate with a Velvetiser is so much easier and involves much less faff than using a handheld milk frother. But both devices do make an exceptional hot drink of chocolate with a frothy top.
Taste wise there isn’t much difference if any. But for me, the Velvetiser is a well-deserved winner of the best hot chocolate maker award. It’s just so easy to use.
Making frothy milk
So how does the Velvetiser stand up to the other devices when it’s used only as a milk frother? The answer is it does well. But not well enough?
The test was a simple one. I added 160ml of whole milk to the Velvetiser and to the electric milk frother. I then added the same amount to a glass jug, warmed it in the microwave, and attacked it with the handheld frother.
The results can be seen in the image below.
Although the test was a simple one, and a pretty unscientific one at that, it was very clear that whilst yes, the Velvetiser can be used as a milk frother, it doesn’t produce as much foam as either the electric or handheld milk frother.
Both the milk frothers massively increased the volume of milk and although the handheld frother created more foam the electric frother made more than enough for a single cup of coffee.
If we’re looking strictly at time the electric frother heated and foamed the milk in exactly two minutes. With having to first heat the milk in the microwave and then 30 seconds for the actual frothing the handheld model took slightly longer.
But, the milk was much hotter out of the microwave as the electric frother (like the Velvetiser) warms the milk to a lower temperature (around 65 degrees). Which is why for me the handheld frother is the better one for making foam for coffee. As long as you don’t mind heating the milk separately.
Type of milk
When frothing and heating milk it’s important to understand that different types of milk behave differently.
All milk will foam to a degree but the more fats the better.
For volume of foam whole milk will froth better than semi-skimmed which in turn will foam much better than skimmed.
I used whole milk in our tests as that provides the thickest texture.
Vegetarians and vegans will note that plant-based milks don’t froth as much as other milks though barista blend vegan milk does foam exceptionally well.
What about other milk frothers?
Whereas there is only one Velvetiser there are dozens upon dozens of milk frothers. And not only do you have the choice of the handheld and electric frothers we’ve discussed so far, but there are also manual and stovetop milk frothers too.
A dupe of Hotel Chocolat?
You can read about the different milk frothers in this article and check out our buyer’s guides too. You may also want to read our Dualit milk frother review as it is often considered to be a dupe of Hotel Chocolat Velvetiser.
Using a Velvetiser with a coffee machine
The Velvetiser is, as we’ve seen, a brilliant hot chocolate maker but we’ve also shown that it can be used as a standalone milk frother – albeit an expensive one. So, if you have a coffee or espresso machine you can use the Velvetiser as a milk frother to make any number of foamy coffees. You can see which coffees you can make on our milk frother recipes page.
Of course, the classic combination is to use a coffee maker with a milk frother. And I personally use an AeroPress with a handheld frother which for around £50 enables me to make fantastic frothy coffee quickly, easily, and far more cheaply than going to a coffee shop like Starbucks.
Best milk frothers reviews and further reading
If you need more information to make a decision on whether to buy a Velvetiser or frother we have some in-depth reviews and buyer’s guides which I’m sure you’ll find useful.
For handheld frothers look at our latest Aerolatte milk frother review and Top 4 handheld milk frothers buyer’s guide.
Best hot chocolate makers
You really don’t have much choice when it comes to making hot chocolate. You can make cocoa the traditional way with chocolate powder and milk warmed on the stove. And of course, you could use instant hot chocolate powder and hot water.
But for the best results and to make luxury hot chocolate in the comfort of your own home – just like the drink you are served in coffee shops – you need a hot chocolate maker. And that is either a Velvetiser or milk frother.
Read more in our buyer’s guide: Best hot chocolate makers
Where to buy frothers and the Velvetiser?
You can buy the Velvetiser or a range of milk frothers on Amazon. And, if you have Prime, most are available with free delivery. Alternatively, you can purchase the Velvetiser directly from Hotel Chocolat though they do charge for shipping. The price tag on the Velvetiser doesn’t seem to differ whether buying direct or from a third-party website.
What about value for money?
This is a tricky question to answer. I’d very much class the Velvetiser as a luxury product. Most of us will pause for thought before splashing out £100 on a small kitchen appliance – especially one that will probably be used once a week or so.
So, in relation to the milk frothers it is expensive but is a Velvetiser worth it? I think so. I’ve had mine for over three years, and it works as well now as it did when I first bought it.
For me, a Velvetiser is value for money if you know what you’re buying. It’s a luxury hot chocolate machine.
Yes, it can double as a milk frother if necessary, but if the primary reason to buy a Velvetiser is to make frothy milk then you should save your money and buy a milk frother.
To my mind a handheld milk frother is the best value small kitchen appliance you can buy. For £15 or less you get a fantastic little gadget that you can use every day. It’s easy to clean, powerful, and does an excellent job of making foam for your milky coffee.
An electric milk frother is also decent value. It has multiple functions and does all the work of heating and frothing milk for you. At under £50 (and you’ll usually be able to get a good one on Amazon for around £35) they are still cheap to buy and more convenient to use than a handheld device.