So you’re looking for the best milk frother, eh? Well I’ve got good news for you, because this post is all about the best milk frothers, and I’ve written it, which means it’s worth reading ;-). Whether you’re wanting stiff foam for old school cappuccino, “silky milky” microfoam for velvety flat whites, or anywhere in between, I think you’ll find this best milk frothers post to be enlightening.
OK maybe enlightening is overdoing it, “mildly interesting” would possibly be more like it. Discovering which might be your perfect milk frother is unlikely to hugely improve your life, although it’ll certainly help you to improve your coffee, and life is far too long for bad coffee. I know the saying is the opposite, but I think my version of it is more realistic.
If you started drinking coffee when you were 18 & drink one coffee per day, that’s over twenty thousand coffees you’re going to drink over an average lifespan, or if you’re me (I drink approx 4 per day) you’ll chug more like 80k – 100k coffees over the average lifespan, so I’m fairly sure “life is too long for bad coffee” is a better saying.
But I digress, let’s get back on track – milk frothers. There are several different ways to froth milk, and there are different types of milk froth too, so with this post I want to make sure everyone is looking at the right kind of frothers for them, rather than just writing a one size fits all post about the best and/or most popular frothers.
What is milk froth?
I think a good place to start this post is by explaining, to anyone who wasn’t sure, what milk froth actually is, as this will make it a bit easier to understand the different types of frothers and which one might be the best option for you. Essentially what we’re doing when we’re frothing milk, is creating protein covered air bubbles.
There is something called “casein micelles” present in milk, individual tiny spherical shaped clusters each containing thousands of protein molecules. When we “froth” milk, what we’re doing is disrupting these micelles by injecting air, which this protein from the disrupted micelles wraps around, creating bubbles that have some degree of stability.
We can do this either with steam injection or by agitation.
Steam injection is usually done with the steam wand on espresso machines, and this is the method that you’ll see baristas using in coffee shops. Agitation is the texturing method used by the majority of stand-alone milk frothers, including the cafetiere method I’ll discuss shortly.
The types of milk froth
There’s really only one type of milk froth, it’s simply milk (or milk alternative) with bubbles in which have been wrapped in protein which is why it forms a relatively stable foam. However, we tend to separate milk froth into two main types, cappuccino foam and microfoam.
All this means is small bubbles or bigger bubbles.
The first kind of milk foam created, was what we know as cappuccino foam, big bubbled foam, and what many people don’t realize is that this was first created to mimic the whipped cream in the Viennese Kapuziner Kaffee.
You would be forgiven for making the very obvious yet wrong assumption that the Kapuziner is the Austrian version of the Cappuccino, but it’s actually the other way around. Believe it or not, Kapuziner was first created in Vienna, where the Italian word for hood (of the robes of Capuchin monks) was used to describe this coffee, the recipe for which was first printed in 1790.
One of the first things that Baristas did when they realized they could create milk foam using steam wands, was to make an espresso based version of this popular drink but make it much easier (and presumably cheaper) to make, than having to whip up cream – and at some point, this espresso-based version of Kapuziner became the Cappuccino.
In more recent (but even harder to actually verify) history, someone somewhere down under (I’ll let Australia and New Zealand argue this one between them) started making a smaller bubbled milk foam to make the Flat White. From what I can gather, the term “Flat White” was already being used by this time simply as a menu abbreviation of “Coffee, white, flat” – but it then evolved at a later time to be produced with this “microfoam”, a texture made by creating smaller bubbles.
So cappuccino foam is made with bigger bubbles, microfoam as the name suggests is made using “micro” bubbles.
Both types of textures can be made wetter or drier, though, simply by steaming or agitating for a longer or shorter period and creating more, or less bubbles.
Agitation vs steaming, which is best?
Agitation is done by agitating the milk, as the word suggests, usually by using a whisk. If you were to put milk in a jar and froth it by shaking it furiously, you’d also be agitating it, and probably agitating anyone else who happens to be present, as an added bonus ;-).
Steaming is done with a steam wand, putting milk in a jug and inserting a steam wand – usually, although not always, attached to an espresso machine.
As this study shows, the results via agitation and steam injection are actually very similar, but when it comes to agitation the fat percentage appears to make a bigger difference and skimmed milk actually appears to react better in terms of more stable milk foam, via agitation than with steaming.
How to choose a milk frother
The best approach to choosing anything at all, really, is to first know exactly what you need. This may seem obvious, but a lot of the time it isn’t because people don’t tend to actually fully understand what they need. You have the edge here, however, as you’re reading this post :-).
The main thing to consider is how much control you need over the milk texture. If you need little or no control over the type of texture (meaning the size of the bubbles) and how wet or dry the texture is (meaning how long it’s streamed or agitated for) then most of the electric milk frothers which heat the milk while frothing it using an integrated whisk, will be fine.
If you do need that level of control over the texture, then you’ll either need an espresso machine with a steam wand, or one of the other manual milk-steaming options below, such as the first option I discuss (the Bodum manual frother) or one of the hand whisks, although I find that the plunger-type frother such as the Bodum frother or simply using a cafetiere in the same way, gives the best control manually, second only to a steam wand.
Re using a steam wand to steam milk, see my tutorial below on using the steam wand on the Gaggia Classic Pro to steam milk.
Do I need a milk frother for a coffee pod machine?
If you have or are thinking of buying a Nespresso machine, they will try and persuade you to buy their “aeroccino” milk frother, and this is worth looking at if there’s a bundle deal where you end up getting the frother for a decent, low price, but otherwise, just keep in mind that you may be able to save yourself some money by choosing one of the options below, some of which are the same kind of frothers as Aeroccino, just not Nespresso branded.
If you have a Dolce Gusto or Tassimo coffee machine, you may think you don’t need a milk frother because these machines come with milk pods, but actually if you have one of these pod machines, buying a milk frother is a great way to improve the quality of your milkies and to save money.
Saving Money, because if you buy the coffee pods that come with milk pods, you’re paying a small fortune for some powdered milk (Dolce Gusto) or liquid milk creamer (Tassimo) so if you stop buying those and use fresh milk in a milk frother then it will be MUCH cheaper.
Improve the quality, because these “milk” pods don’t contain fresh milk, they contain a creamer or powdered milk, so being able to heat and froth your own milk or milk alternative will give you better tasting milkies made of actual milk or whatever milk alternative you prefer if you don’t consume cow juice.
Also, did you know that you don’t have to buy the expensive branded pods from Nespresso or Dolce Gusto? There are many compatible coffee pods available for a fraction of the price and taste just as good.
These ones from Amazon are a good example and are excellent value for money:
Cheap Coffee Pods
What type of milk frother is best?
As I’ve just mentioned, this really depends on you and how much control you need.
If you have an espresso machine, it’ll more than likely have a steam wand, so you’ll just a milk jug to steam your milk in.
If you don’t have an espresso machine, and you’re not interested in buying one – then you’ll need either a manual milk frother, which are cheaper but involves heating the milk separately or one of the automated milk frothers which froth your milk and heat it at the same time.
Some of these automated frothers will create cold milk froth too, by the way, and cold milk foam is incredible, especially on frappes or iced coffees, in fact I reckon cold milk froth would be mega on chocolate cake too, if you’re counting the calories – for me it tastes like whipped cream, but it comes with approximately 80% less guilt ;-).
I think if you’re wanting to create microfoam, so you really need to control the milk texture, you’re probably best with one of the manual options if you’re not going to get an espresso machine with a steam wand. If you’re not concerned with controlling the texture, then the automated milk heater frothers are a lot more convenient.
Milk texturing with a Cafetiere
Just be aware that if you already have a cafetiere, then you might not have to buy anything. You can actually create great milk texture using a cafetiere, really simply, especially if you have one of the smaller glass carafe cafetieres as you can usually take the glass jug out and and slap it in the microwave to heat it up prior to frothing the milk, as Lance Hedrick demonstrates in his video below.
Best manual milk frothers:
So as I said earlier, manual milk frothers are the best if you’re wanting control over the kind of milk froth you create (the size of the bubbles, cappuccino foam vs microfoam), and there are two typeas of manual milk frothers, the modified cafetiere type, and the hand whisk type.
At present there’s only one modified cafetiere type of manual milk frother, which is the one below from Bodum, and I’m surprised actually that there aren’t a dozen competitors on the market already! However, there are lots of cheaper cafiteres that are a similar size so you can fit the jug in the microwave, and that come with a glass jug so putting it in the microwave won’t create an “Under Seige” style explosion.
So below I’m obviously sharing the Bodum milk frother, but I’m also going to suggest a cheaper similar alternative that is sold as a cafetiere, and will work as a cafetiere, but will also work well as manual milk frothers.
Bodum Milk Frother
Check Price – Amazon UK
- Microwave safe so you don’t need to remove the jug part from the rest of the device before heating.
- Made of toughened borosilicate glass so it’s durable to the odd knock and will be very long-lasting (as long as you don’t drop it on the floor)
- You can get a good grip on the handle and hold it to the worktop whilst plunging to create the froth
- Everything is dishwasher safe so there is nothing wash up (unless you don’t have a dishwasher), just pop the carafe and the plunger straight into the washer and enjoy your coffee
OK let’s be honest, this isn’t just loosely based on a cafetiere ;-), it’s basically a modified cafetiere, and good on Bodum for seeing the opportunity and acting on it. The modification Bodum has made to what would otherwise be a cafetiere may be small, but it’s important. The mesh used for cafetieres is of course intended to separate coffee grounds from the coffee liquid, it’s not intended to froth milk.
What Bodum have done I think is very clever. They’ve made an all glass (except for the plunger) cafetiere essentially, but they’ve modified the mesh to be better for frothing milk, and they’ve modified the position of the plunger in terms of how deep into the jug it goes.
The results are quite impressive, from looking at the customer uploaded images in the Amazon Reviews.
While many of the users who have uploaded photos have produced thick (yet quite glossy looking) foam, it’s possible to make latte art worthy textured milk this way, as Lance Hedrick displayed in the video I shared earlier, and as Dritan proves below.
Just to clarify, as per the comment from Andrew below, I’d suggest heating the milk in the Bodum frother, and then frothing, not the other way around, because the bubbles will be bursting while it’s heating. Ideally, you want to pour as soon as you’ve frothed.
Classic Continental 350ml Black Cafetière
Check Price – Amazon UK
- Microwave safe (just remove the plunger)
- 13.5cm tall without the lid & plunger, so fits in a standard microwave
- Made of toughened shockproof glass
- Decent, grippy handle
So this is sold as a cafetiere, not as a milk frother, but it shares most of the features of the Bodum milk frother, including the fact that it’s short enough to fit in a microwave with the plunger removed, and that without the plunger it’s microwave safe.
This is a popular little cafetiere in terms of how well it sells, which isn’t surprising given how cheap it is, and the reviews are very good overall. Reading through the negatives, quite a few of these appear to be from people who’ve received something other than the cafetiere advertised, and if this happens to you I’d recommend just using Amazon’s brilliant returns option to return it.
One 0f the great things about Amazon is simultaneously one of the not so great things about Amazon, and that is that various suppliers can supply the products to any given listing. This is good for us consumers, because it increases the competition which reduces the price we have to pay for stuff, and it’s particularly good when it’s a branded product.
For example let’s say you’re buying a specific make and model of a coffee machine, and another supplier comes along and sells it cheaper, this pits the suppliers against each other, and we get the product cheaper. What can happen though on products which are a bit more generic, is that another supplier can come along and add themselves as a supplier to the listing, but they might not be supplying like for like, it could be a cheaper yet similar-looking product.
I think this is what’s happened here at some point, as there are a few complaints about customers having received something completely different from the listed product, which doesn’t appear to be the same product that others have rated very positively. At the time of writing, however, there’s only one supplier for this product, so if when you’re looking at it you can see there are multiple price options, just beware as you may end up buying a cheaper alternative.
KitchenCraft Le’Xpress Electric Milk Frother Whisk
Check Price – Amazon UK
- Very cheap!
- Versatile – use as a whisk as well, for whipping cream etc
- Can be used for cold milk froth for frappe & iced latte
- Uses batteries so easy to manoeuvre around the kitchen
My first experience of these little battery powered hand frothers were as a kid when I visited the UK’s first ever IKEA store in the late 80s or early 90s. They seemed to always have them on the way towards the tills, and I seem to remember them being a quid.
The KitchenCraft Le’Xpress is undoubtedly a higher powered and nicer looking version of these early hand frothers, but they’re basically the same thing, and I actually think they’re great. They’re very simple to use, they’re small and portable, and as well as using them to create milk froth for cappuccino, latte & so on. As with the Bodum manual frother, you have to heat the milk yourself but it gives you some level of control over the texture too – and it’s a super cheap option.
If you watch the video below from where I’ve queued it, you’ll see me using the Le’Xpress frother, and you’ll see that from my first attempt using this frother (and this was actually my first attempt, because doing a rehearsal would make far too much sense, and be far too organised) I actually got fairly decent cappuccino milk texture using it.
I’ve not used it a much since I did this review, but my opinion of this particular hand frother is that its pretty good for the money, it appears to be plenty powerful enough, and I’ve not used it alongside the competing options, but I will do – as I’ve recently bought the other frothers that I’m discussing on this page, so that I can compare them.
You can create cold milk foam with these, too. Cold milk foam is something that I think is about to make a big splash, and I’m not even going to apologise for that awful pun, it’s my blog, I can stoop as low as I see fit! ;-). Joking apart, cold milk whippers are something that are beginning to be built into commercial bean to cup coffee machines, and some big chain Cafes (including Starbucks in the USA, but not in the UK at the time of writing) are offering cold foam in their stores.
Cold milk foam is a revelation, as far as I’m concerned, and it allows cafes to serve real iced latte. What I mean by that is that in my humble opinion, making a coffee with milk and putting ice in it, doesn’t make it an iced latte, it makes it an iced milky coffee, to make it a latte it would need to have textured milk, however if a barista was to stretch the milk with a steam wand and then add ice to it, you’d be served a tepid latte, which doesn’t quite have the same appeal.
With cold milk foam, though, you can have proper iced lattes with enjoyable cold textured milk, and you can also have frappes made with crushed ice, with cold milk foam, which for me takes them to a whole new level.
SimpleTaste One Touch Powered Hand Whisk & Stand
Check Price – Amazon UK
This is a slightly bigger, slightly heavier weight and slightly more expensive hand-powered whisk, compared to the Le’Xpress, and it just looks a little bit slicker and comes with a stand. I thought the Le’Express was the best selling hand whisk, as that has many thousands of reviews, but this one has tens of thousands of reviews!
It actually has a slightly higher overall rating a the time of writing, too, than the Le’Express, so very impressive – and reading through the reviews, actually the only commonly reported negative is that it’s too powerful, which is something that some people see as a negative but many clearly don’t.
I think this is probably just down to getting the hang of it. I’m sure if I jumped on a Kawasaki Ninja H2 (0-60 in approx 3 seconds) given that I’m not used to riding motorbikes, it probably wouldn’t end well. At least the only negative from using too powerful a hand whisk is that you might end up wearing your milk for a while until you’re able to handle the power.
I did ride motorbikes a bit as a kid, by the way, but just on fields, not on the road. come to think of it, I did actually ride my mate’s scooter on the road occasionally as a teenager, but don’t tell my mum, she’ll go ape if she finds out ;-).
I’ve bought one of these, and I’ll be doing a comparison video using the various hand whisks, and I’ll update this post once I’ve used them all.
Zulay Original By Milk Boss
Check Price – Amazon UK
I thought the two frothers above had a huge number of ratings, but then I looked at the number of reviews Milk Boss’s Zulay Original has, and oh my giddy aunt!
We’re not just talking tens of thousands, we’re getting into the hundreds of thousands, wow! Strange saying that, “oh my giddy aunt”, my Brother-in-Law is called Ant (no he’s not one half of Ant & Dec), and whenever I say that phrase he does a little dance. I’m not sure if he does that to confirm his giddiness, or if it’s just a coincidence & he was about to do that anyway?
They make this milk frother in 80 different colours, apparently, although at the time of writing there are 36 colours available. I nearly wrote “only”, but I then realised that to plop the word “only” in front of 36 when exclaiming how many colours this is currently available in, would be a bit daft.
This is a milk frother, not a shirt, and I’d be amazed if a shirt was available in 80 colours, even 36 colours, even 8 colours – but why make a milk frother available in so many colours? Are people that bothered about exactly matching a milk frother with their kitchen colour scheme?
Anyway, I’ll stop going on about the colours now, as we all know that if you’re buying one of these you’re going to choose “Aurora Northern Lights”, no wait “cloud”, actually no hang on, “cotton candy”, ah, actually no I think I’d go for “hot pink with gold button” – ah sod it, I’ll just buy one of each.
I wonder if “spent the mortgage payment on one of every available colour of milk frother” would be accepted as grounds for divorce? Not wanting to test that, I decided to just buy one, and given that I really couldn’t give a chuff what colour it is, I just left it on the default colour which was black. I will be using this along with the other two above, and I’ll come back and update this post accordingly.
Best electric milk frothers:
OK so that’s the manual milk frothers dealt with, and as I’ve said, these are good when it comes to having more manual control over both the type of milk texture (the size of the bubbles) and how stiff the foam is (how long you continue to create bubbles for).
Now to get onto the electric frothers, and while these don’t usually give you the same kind of control over the foam as you’d have with manual frothers, they’re more convenient, especially since they heat the milk as well as frothing it for you, while with the manual options you need to warm the milk manually.
Lavazza A Modo Mio Milk Frother
Check Price – Amazon UK
- Magnetic whisks that clip in and out easily
- “beeping” notification when your milk is ready so you can get on with making your coffee whilst it’s in action
- Clean modern design
- Froths hot and cold milk
This is basically the Lavazza A Modo Mio version of the Nespresso Aeroccino. By the way, did you know Nespresso and Lavazza A Modo Mio were invented by the same guy?
He invented the Nespresso machine, got himself a job in the Nescafe warehouse to get a foot in the door. Eventually worked up to the position that he could pitch the decision-makers. They hated it, though it would destroy sales of instant coffee.
He stuck at it, about 8 years later pitched the CEO of Nescafe Japan, and the rest is history. He then invented what we know as the Lavazza A Modo Mio machines.
It’s a mid-priced milk frother, it comes from a known brand, and it clearly has a lot of happy users from looking at the Amazon reviews. The only negatives I can see are from people who don’t understand what the reviews are for. There are people leaving product reviews berating the supplier for sending them a machine with the wrong plug – that’s not a product review…
Lavazza A Modo Mio Milk Up Frother
Also read: Best Milk Frother of 2022 – TechGearLab
Check Price – Amazon UKCheck Price – Currys
This is the newer version of the Lavazza milk frother, and unlike the one-piece original version, this is a different design, incorporating a detachable jug and magnetic induction. It looks a bit classier, but I think the main benefit of this slightly pricier version is the fact that it’s a 2 part affair, so you’re just pouring from a jug into your coffee.
Also, reading through the many reviews, there are reviewers who have upgraded from the original version to this one who are stating that the newer version is much easier to clean, as you can just run the removable part under the tap or put it in the dishwasher.
MisterChef® Large Fast 500W Automatic Milk Frother, Hot & Cold
Check Price – Amazon UK
- Hot and cold frothing
- Heats milk to 65C in 60 seconds
- Automatically switches off when finished frothing
- Steam and froth up to 300ml of milk.
These kinds of milk frothers are a step up from the manual version above in terms of convenience. They aerate the milk in a very similar fashion, to a similar degree, but they heat the milk at the same time, saving you the additional step of heating the milk.
You don’t have any control over the amount of foam with this frother, it heats and froths at the same time, so you’ll get milk at around 60-65C, however it comes in terms of froth. If you like your milk foam fairly stiff, for the more old school cappuccino, then you’ll probably be happy with this.
If you’re more like me and you like wetter, more velvety foam that distributes more with the coffee, you’re probably best with one of the manual frothers, or the Miroco frother a bit further on in the post, which has different froth settings.
Severin Induction Milk Frother
Check Price – Amazon UK
- Hot and cold milk frothing
- Induction heating
- Removable milk jug
- Choose the temperature for milk heating
- Hot chocolate function using pieces of chocolate
- Excellent milk foam consistency
- Precise barista quality pouring thanks to perfectly shaped Barista spout
This isn’t a cheap milk frother, and I can see a few benefits over this one vs some of the cheaper milk frothers, in particular the wide range of temperature settings, and the hot chocolate mode which allows it to whip up hot chocolate for you via pieces of your favourite chocolate and milk.
I’m fairly surprised that a frother of this cost doesn’t have more of the way of foam settings though. From what I can gather you have two options, the level of foam that is produced at the standard setting – or for a stiffer foam, run the cold frothing program first, and then hot.
It has a lot of very positive reviews though, including a lot of praise for the quality of the milk texture it produces, and its ability to work with milk alternatives, and ease of cleaning.
Dualit 84135 Triple Function Milk Frother
Check Price – Amazon UK
- Trusted Brand. Dualit has been providing innovative kitchen products since 1945
- Hot or Cold. Capable of cold frothed milk for milkshakes and iced coffees, or hot frothed milk for cappuccino, flat white, cortado & more
- High Capacity. Froths and heats up to half a litre of milk.
- Easy Clean. Featuring a patented removable magnetic whisk providing a fully sealed drive, smooth non-stick interior & motor designed to prevent milk burning and sticking.
Dualit are a very well known brand, and they’re a brand I’m quite fond of actually, not that I have any of their products, as I don’t, but because they’re the reason Nespresso compatible pods are a thing.
Nestle are huge, of course, so when they challenged Dualit (a very small firm by comparison) for breaching their patent, the sensible thing for them to have done would have been to agree to cease and desist, and put it down to experience.
Dualit didn’t do that, they had the guts (I was going to say the balls, but this is a family blog) to take up the challenge.
It was a real David & Goliath case, and amazingly Dualit were victorious, and as a result, there is now a huge range of compatible Nespresso pods. For more on that see: Dualit wins Nespresso coffee capsule patent dispute.
Anyway, going back to the milk frother, I think it’s fair to say that most of these kinds of electric frothers are a much of a muchness, but I think the Dualit frother is one that breaks the mold.
Firstly, it’s one of the rare milk frothers that comes from a really well known brand, and secondly, it does appear to have some innovations that I can’t see on other frothers, including a magnetic easy to remove whisk and the motor designed to prevent milk burning and sticking, making it easier to clean.
It has clearly done well on Amazon, just have a look through the Amazon Reviews & you’ll see most users have a lot of praise for this milk frother.
Shardor Anti-Splash Milk Frother
Check Price – Amazon UK
- 3-in-1 Hot foam, cold foam, warm milk
- Easy to Clean. The jug part removes from the base for easy cleaning, and jug is non-stick coated
- No splash. Splash & overflow prevention
Apart from the fact that whoever wrote the marketing blurb insists on referring to this as a “steamer”, which I find rather annoying, as it’s not a steamer, it looks like a fairly decent option for the money. It’ll warm up to 350ml at a time, or froth up to 150ml, and looking at some of the customer uploaded images in the Amazon reviews, it does look like this frother is capable of making some nice looking cappuccino foam.
Reading through some of the detailed reviews, this frother will create a couple of levels of froth. The dense foam it’ll make looks to me from some of the images to be similar to a stiffer microfoam, which I’d make with a steam wand by gently introducing air for smaller bubbles but keeping it going for longer than I would if I were wanting microfoam for latte art. The other foam it makes is a bigger bubbled foam, which is more like the foam I’d refer to as “old school” cappuccino foam.
The best milk jugs/pitchers for steam wands:
OK so we’ve discussed manual milk frothers and automatic milk frothers. If you have an espresso machine with a steam wand, though, then you’ll need a milk jug, below are what I believe to be among the best options.
Easyworkz Latte Art Frothing Pitcher
Check Price – Amazon UK
Capacity: 350 ml (also available in 450 ml)Material: Stainless steel
So this milk jug is clearly an, hmm, what do we call it, OK I’ll be nice and call it an “emulation” of the very popular (and more expensive) Motta milk jugs. If you look at the Motta jug, below, you’ll see what I mean. If I was Motta, then I’d be annoyed, but I think it’s just the norm, any brand that produces a product that sells well knows full well they’re going to get copies.
Cheaper copies are usually not quite the same, either in the design, or materials, or build quality, and although this jug is a lot cheaper by percentage, it’s a saving of about a tenner, so if it were me I’d probably go for the original. I do have the original Motta jug, below, I don’t have this similar-looking jug so I can’t give you a proper comparison, but from looking through the reviews including uploaded customer images, it doesn’t look bad at all.
Just keep in mind that if you buy the default size, this is 350ml which is quite small, someone has commented in the reviews that it’s smaller than it looks. The 450ml jug is more like the average milk jug size, and you’ll have to change the size option to this one if you want the bigger jug, and it does change the price but only very slightly.
Motta Stainless Steel Professional Milk Pitcher/Jugs
Check Price – Amazon UK
Capacity: 500 ml (also available in various other sizes)Material: Stainless steel
So this is the genuine Motta milk jug, I’ve got one of these and I’m very pleased with it. I do have quite a few milk jugs, and this is one of my favourites. In fact, I say I’ve got one, I had one – it has mysteriously disappeared, and my Son who is a professional Barista oddly now uses one at work that looks exactly like it, hmm ;-). I’m kidding, he’s not pinched it, he asked me if he could take it to try it at work, and the fact that I’ve not got it back would indicate that he likes it.
If you’ve used a standard sharp spout in the past, the spout on these are a bit different, but I really like them. The handle is also slightly different, and it’ll take some getting used to if you’ve used a more standard handle, but whatever jug you get, you’ll need to get used to pouring with it, as there are so many different types of milk jugs with different spouts and different handle positions and styles.
Milk Frothing Jug with Thermometer
Check Price – Amazon UK
Capacity: 600ml Material: Stainless steel
If you’re just getting into the home barista thing, including steaming milk via the steam wand on your coffee machine, grabbing a temp control milk jug is a good idea. Sure, you can get a separate thermometer instead, but it’s just something else to have to buy, clean, and find each time you want to make a cappuccino or latte.
It’s important to know what temp you’re steaming your milk to for a couple of reasons. The main reason, for me, is taste.
After about 65C, you start to burn off the lactose, the natural sugars in milk, and this is why milk heated beyond this starts to taste weird. A flat white, latte, or cappuccino made with almost boiled milk is awful, in my humble opinion.
The other reason is that once you know what your temp preference is, it’s very difficult to know from feeling the side of the milk jug, how hot the milk is. After a while, like me, you’ll be able to tell just from the feel of the jug how hot it is, but I only learned this by using a thermometer.
There’s the Sage temp control jug, which is a very popular jug with a thermometer, and that is a decent jug, I’ve used it – but it’s about three times the price!
Anpro Milk Jug
Check Price – Amazon UK
Capacity: 350ml (also available in 400ml and 600ml)Material: Stainless steel
Also read: 7 Best Milk frother and Steamer for coffee
This is more of a standard spout milk jug, similar to the one above but without the thermometre, and available in three different sizes. If you don’t make a selection re the size, you’ll get the 350ml one. With regard size, I think most people would probably find 500ml to be about normal, so if you’re unsure, if you like bigger milkies then I’d go for the 600ml version, if you mainly drink 6-8 ounce flat whites for example, then the 350ml or 400ml version will be fine.
It’s fairly inexpensive, so it’s not a bad jug to start out with, but just beware of the super cheap jugs. You can get them cheaper, but I’ve had cheaper milk jugs that have been a bit weird, slightly lob sided, and not great spouts, so not helpful if you’re hoping to learn to free pour latte art.
Kevs Milk Frother What the FAQ
What temperature should I heat milk to?
No higher than 65C, in my humble opinion. I actually prefer my flat whites to be just a couple of degrees cooler than this, usually 63 or 64, and it’s not just about the temperature, it’s about taste. Just try making your milk hotter, and see what it tastes like. You’ll probably find that the hotter it gets after about 65, the duller or flatter it starts to taste.
One of the characteristics of the very commonly experienced “flat shite” which is what happens when a cafe has all the gear but unfortunately, the staff have no idea (and I agree, it’s not their fault, the people setting up the cafe should invest in barista training), is milk temperature being way, way too hot. If you’ve ever experienced this, it’s disappointing, and it’s usually accompanied by cappuccino foam too, as staff who’ve not been shown how to use a steam wand properly, usually instinctively make thick bubbled cappuccino foam.
Can I froth the coffee with the milk already in?
Sure, and after you do this, hang your head in shame! Haha, just kidding. You can do whatever you like in the comfort of your own home, and you can even do it in the buff if you like, just be careful though, even milk at 65C will possible seem much, much hotter than that if it happens to splash you in a rather tender area…
I have to admit, I have tried this, and I wasn’t impressed. I can’t quite put my finger on why, it just wasn’t right.
What drinks can you make with a milk frother?
Most coffee shop favourites are made with espresso and textured, heated milk that we generally refer to as foam, froth, or where speciality coffee is concerned “micro foam”. So as long as you have some way to create the espresso or espresso-style coffee (if you don’t have an espresso machine, a coffee pod machine, an Aeropress or a stove top coffee pot will do fine) then you can produce the heated textured milk, or cold foam if you’re making an iced latte or frappe for example, using one of the frothers above
Kev’s Guide to Flat White. What is it & How To Make Them?
I’ve come to the conclusion that no one actually knows what a flat white is ;-). Ask 10 different experts, and you’ll get 20 different answers. But again, who cares, you’re making your own flat whites, so find what you think is the perfect flat white and work on replicating that again and again.
Essentially flat white is like a smaller, more intense latte made with micro foam, and with very little in the way of foam on the top.
Flat white started out as an abbreviation on a coffee shop menu, in the 80s, as “Coffee, White – Flat” took up far too much menu real estate, compared to “Flat White”. When and where baristas started producing the microfoam that flat whites are known for, though, I’ve no idea, it depends on who you ask, but flat white is about 1: intensity (vs that of latte and cappuccino) and 2: milk texture – which is silky, velvety “microfoam” milk texture.
Different people will have a different idea of what cappuccino is, depending on their age, and depending on where they usually get their cappuccino.
Microfoam, which as I mentioned earlier is smaller protein covered bubbles than the bigger bubbles created for cappuccino foam, was invented along with the flat white, as far as I can ascertain, and came to the UK with flat white.
Like all good inventions, though, while Baristas had been making milkies with larger bubbled cappuccino foam until this point, once the majority of baristas had discovered microfoam, it just seemed obvious that a smaller bubbled more velvety mouthfeel was better, and as a result you’ll usually find these days that whatever you order in a speciality coffee shop, you’ll get some form of micro foam.
As I mentioned earlier, you can make microfoam stiffer simply by stretching (injecting air) for longer, so what most cafe’s will serve these days for cappuccino vs flat white, isn’t the old school cappuccino foam, but is instead a stiffer, more dense microfoam.
So if you want a “new age” cappuccino, or “third wave” cappuccino, then just focus on producing smaller bubbles, by introducing less air, but do it for longer than you would if you were wanting a flat white, and what you should end up with is a stiff dense foam which piles up into a mountain on the top of your coffee.
If what you want is a more traditional, old school cappuccino, then you want bigger bubbles, and many auto frothers and also the panarello steam wands on most of the cheaper home espresso machines and bean to cup coffee machines will produce this kind of froth by default anyway.
Latte is the Italian word for milk, so if you ask for a latte in Italy, don’t be surprised if you end up with a glass of milk ;-), if you ask for caffe latte, though, you’ll get what you wanted.
Latte is made with approx 1:4 espresso to milk ratio, with 3 parts of the milk being hot milk, and 1 part being foam, roughly.
Personally, I wouldn’t worry too much about whether you’re doing this right, just experiment with it, and when you make a latte which you think is the best you’ve ever had, just try to remember what you did. This is the beauty of home espresso, you don’t have to conform to other people’s ideas of what a latte, cappuccino, flat white, etc., should be, just focus on making your perfect coffee and then try to replicate that every time.
But I did make this one!
Again, old school latte was made with bigger bubbled froth, these days you’ll usually find that it’s more like a taller less intense flat white, being made with microfoam. If you’re making your own flat whites from home, though, you can play around until you’ve got your latte exactly how you want it, and then just try to remember exactly what you did so you can repeat it over & over again.
Caffe macchiato or espresso macchiato is an espresso with a small amount of milk added. Macchiato means “stained”, and it’s thought that this spot or “stain” of milk was used as a way to simply highlight to busy baristas which were straight espressos and which were espressos with a spot (stain) of milk.
While cafe macchiato is espresso stained with milk, latte macchiato is milk stained with espresso. It’s basically what you get when you put the milk in first and the coffee in second when making a latte, but “milk in first latte” doesn’t roll of the tongue as well as latte macchiato.
Cortado is a small espresso-based intense milky (around 3-4 ounces or 85 – 120ml) with somewhere along the lines of 1:1.5 – 1:2 espresso/milk, with a very small amount of foam, usually served in what is referred to as a cortado glass.
Piccolo is similar in size to cortado but a bit more delicate, around 1:2 espresso/milk
Can you use milk frothers for milkshakes?
You can use any of the manual milk frothers, above, for cold milk froth for milk shakes and other cold drinks, and many of the electric milk frothers have the ability to produce cold milk froth, too. You wouldn’t want to use a steam wand to froth milk for milk shakes, unless you want hot milkshake, and each to their own – I suppose if it’s a chocolate flavoured hot milk shake it would be a hot chocolate ;-).
Can you froth non-dairy milk?
If it’ll froth, a frother will froth it, but certain types of milk alternatives are more frothable (is that a word?) than others, so it will depend on the non-dairy milk alternative of choice. Most of the oat milks & Soy milks froth fairly well, and some of the “barista” versions froth really well, some of them almost as good as full-fat moo milk.
Oat Milks Compared
See my video on Vegan milk alternatives:
What Milk is best for frothing?
It depends on how your frothing, really – and whether you’re wanting to pour latte art or not. If you just want to be able to create a decent, stable froth, and you’re not worried about how well it pours, then actually semi-skimmed cows milk will froth really well, but it gets a bit clumpy, if that’s the right word, and it’s as good for pouring as full fat.
When it comes to the agitation method, used by the manual options and the automatic milk frothers above, skimmed milk actually reacts very well in terms of creating a stable foam. If you’re using a steam wand, and esprecially if you’re wanting to pour pretty latte art, then you’ll probably find full fat cow’s milk is the best, which is why this tends to be the kind of milk used by default in most coffee shops.
You are now fully equipped to make an informed decision on how to choose the best milk frother for your needs. Happy frothing!
Just a cheeky little plug before I sign off, you can only make the tastiest coffee if you use the best quality coffee beans. Many people continually upgrade their coffee brewing gear in an effort to make better tasting coffee, and miss the most important element, which is to upgrade your coffee beans!
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Shameless plug over ;-), now I’ll let you go & get frothing.
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