Not too long ago, people seemed content with their instant coffee and basic morning caffeine hit. A recent revolution, though, has seen millions of people around the world trade in these simple coffees and drinks for something more complex.
Whether it’s a cappuccino, latte, or iced coffee, there are many ways that using a milk frother can add rich, velvety texture to your favorite drink and enhance its flavor out of sight. Thankfully, using a milk frother doesn’t have to be complicated and there are just a few simple steps to operate.
Once you’ve experienced frothed milk in your hot or cold drinks, you’ll find it very hard to turn back to instant coffee or milk without volume. Learning the basics to achieving the perfect froth is a matter of skill and having the right product, so read on for how you can accomplish it.
Types of Milk Frothers
There are generally three forms of milk frothers available: automatic, handheld, and those built into espresso machines. All of them work on the same science, that air is introduced into the milk which creates bubbles and foam, which we refer to as frothing.
The fats found in milk are crucial to the frothing process and help to achieve a lot of its volume. However, reaching the ideal temperature with your frother is the other important element to this process as it needs to hit about 95°F to be at the perfect heat for hot drinks such as cappuccinos.
Depending on the type of milk frother you use, this process will vary slightly, however, the same logic applies. While the manual milk frother takes more work, it’s also less expensive, so it may be attractive to those who don’t want to spend a lot on an automatic frothing wand or espresso machine.
If you’re wanting to experience frother milk but don’t want to spend a lot of money, a manual handheld milk frother might be for you. These devices are cheaper, but they do take a bit more work than your automatic frother to use.
A manual milk frother will generally take a minute or so to use, depending on the volume of milk. Depending on the temperature of milk you’re after, you will need to use fresh cold milk from the fridge or heat the milk after frothing in the microwave or stovetop for hot drinks.
How to Use a Manual Milk Frother
- Pour your cold or hot milk into the milk frother’s carafe, aiming to fill around a third of it to ensure enough space for frothing.
- Cover the carafe with the plunger and lid ensuring it’s closed correctly and no milk can come through.
- Holding the lid down with one hand, use your other to pump the plunger up and down vigorously for about a minute. This may need to be shorter or longer depending on the consistency required.
- After 15 seconds in, it will be harder to push the plunger due to the foaming process occurring which thickens the milk. Use stronger force to ensure it reaches the bottom.
- Once complete, remove the lid and shake and swirl the carafe before leaving it to sit for a minute. This will allow the milk to settle.
- Pour the milk into your drink, or a microwave-safe container if you plan on heating. Turn on for 30 seconds at most and then remove to enjoy.
Automatic Handheld Milk Frother
For a more convenient milk frothing process, an automatic device is best. There are two different types of automatic milk frothers available, one as a standalone device that allows you to pour the milk in and the machine will do the rest. The other, a handheld wand that lets you froth the milk to your desired consistency.
While there’s nothing to the automatic standalone machine other than pouring your milk and turning it on, the handheld automatic frother requires a few more steps. These handheld wands are also ideal for a range of other cold drinks too such as smoothies, protein shakes, and more.
How to Use an Automatic Milk Frother
- Depending on the temperature you want your drink, you can use freshly chilled milk or some which has been heated in the microwave. If using hot milk, ensure it’s not too hot or it may splash and burn during frothing.
- Fill a large carafe or jug with milk, ensuring you only reach about a third of the way. This will give you adequate space for frothing without anything spilling over the top.
- Place your handheld milk frother into the glass without turning it on, letting it hit the bottom before you switch it on.
- Move the frother up and down vigorously in the milk, being careful not to bring it too far up where it can spray milk.
- Once you’ve reached the desired consistency, turn off the frother before taking it out and enjoy your thick, foamy drink.
Why Frothed Milk is Best
Considering Americans spend up to $4 on the average latte, with some purchasing the foamy drink each day, having a milk frother at home is a great way to save money. Using these professional devices will allow you to create a drink that resembles a barista blend and you’ll likely have fun in the process.
Whether you use a manual handheld frother, an automatic wand, or one that heats and steams together, the difference is clear in how much better your drinks taste. Lattes, cappuccinos, iced coffees, milkshakes, protein shakes, and more can all be improved with this simple device.
DonnaJuly 5, 2019
my manual hand frother is in 4 pieces…how is it assembled
WillMay 30, 2020
Couldn’t tell if I should heat the milk before frothing or heat it after frothing for hot drinks
EdSeptember 10, 2020
For a hot latte, I heated 1 cup of milk in a small saucepan (for a ratio of 3-to-1 milk to espresso). I checked it with a thermometer and pulled it when it was approaching 150 degrees so it wouldn’t scald. I tipped the saucepan so the warm milk was deeper, then I frothed it right in the saucepan. Turned out beautifully. Just take care to not splash warm milk all over or transfer the warm milk to a deeper container for frothing if your saucepan is shallow.
abella graceMarch 22, 2021
Very informative and amazing article