How do you like your coffee, black or with a touch of milk? Well, since you are reading this, the odds are that you enjoy having a bit of milk in your cup of Joe. It’s also very likely that you are interested in making your foamy, milky coffee drinks at home. That’s where we chip in.
In this article, we are going to talk about the best milk frothers and steamers. If you are still new to these coffee-making accessories, Lindsey-Bell has also prepared an on-spot guide on how to choose a milk frother or steamer. Otherwise, let’s begin the countdown!
Breville BMF600XL Milk Cafe Milk Frother
- 3-cup capacity
- Induction heating
- Cappuccino, lattes, hot chocolate, and iced beverages
Our ideal milk frother is one that creates not only cappuccino and latte froths but also makes other hot drinks. It should also be hands-off and easy to use. The Breville BMF600XL milk frother ticks all these boxes (and others) to become our overall best milk frother to buy in 2020.
This frother combines an induction-heating base and a removable 3-cup capacity mug- both made of stainless steel. The size of the mug makes it a perfect choice for a small family of espresso lovers as well as entertaining friends.
The Milk Café is a multipurpose frother that can make cappuccinos, lattes, and hot chocolate. The mug itself has markings on the inside to guide you on how much milk you need to start with.
Also, it uses 2 interchangeable frothing discs for cappuccino and latte froths. When either of these is not in use, there is an onboard magnetic storage for it. So, it’s always within reach whenever you need it. Its power cord also stores under the base for space-saving.
What we find so impressive about this frother is its wide temperature-adjustment range. You can vary your froth’s temperature from just warm to hot.
Even better, there is a ‘Cold Stir’ option that lets you stir hot or cold milk without heating the milk any further. This function is also great for blending in flavorings and syrups for mocha and iced chocolate. You can also use it to stir in instant drinking powders into water or milk.
✔ Allows temperature adjustment
✔ Supports different drinks (hot and cold)
✔ Large capacity mug
✔ Compact design for storage
✔ A breeze to clean
✘ Works best with cow milk
✘ Requires at least 1-cup milk
✘ Quite large
Nestle Nespresso 3694-US-BK Aeroccino3 Milk Frother (Best For Non-Dairy)
- 1-button operations
- Hot and Cold milk
- Dairy and non-dairy milk
- Heats milk to 160-170 F
If your kitchen tops are already overcrowded to accommodate the Milk Café, we recommend you to check out the Aeroccino 3.
This model is just as it looks like- a tall Thermos-like mug that sits on a compact, detachable base that houses the heating element.
Similar to the Milk Café above, the Aeroccino 3 makes milk froths for both cappuccino and latte. It also has maximum and minimum capacity indicators.
The Nestle Nespresso Aeroccino 3 compact design and compatibility with different types of milk make it a perfect go-to if you are looking for a frother that you can move around the world with.
Going by most reviews on Amazon, this model seems to offer the best results with 2% and full cream dairy milk. It also caters to non-dairy vegans in that it accepts almond and rice milk too. A little more effort will be required from your side with the non-dairy milk, though.
This affordable milk frother utilizes one button for hot and cold milk frothing. Its automatic off feature again means that you can be fixing your coffee from the brewer as it makes the foam.
It’s also worth noting that the Nestle Aeroccino 3 is much quieter than the Milk Café. We don’t want to mean that Milk Café is obnoxiously loud, but the Aeroccino is much quieter if noise level matters to you.
✔ Great for traveling
✔ Quiet operations
✔ Uses dairy and non-dairy milk
✔ It’s quick
✘ Non-stick isn’t so good
✘ Has no handle
Café Casa Frothy Hand Mixer and Milk Frother (Best For Traveling)
- 2-speed motor
- Stainless steel construction
- Stands alone
The Café Casa is one of the cheapest milk frothers on the market today. We could attribute this to its handheld design, which isn’t as complex as other models in these reviews. Don’t despise it though; this is more than a milk frother.
We like to describe the Café Casa as a ‘mixer of everything,’ and it’s not hard to see why. Besides frothing milk for your buttered coffee and latte, this model will also be a reliable stirring wand for mixing up macchiato, protein shakes, hot chocolate, and baby formula, among other drinks.
This hand mixer is made mainly of high-quality stainless steel, so we don’t expect durability to be an issue. The wand bends easily, though. So, keep that in mind if you plan to move around with it.
The Café Casa has a contoured handle for easy gripping. This handle also houses a 2-speed motor and a 2-AA battery compartment.
Now, it being a battery-operated frother, you might not expect this model to offer excellent frothing capabilities. However, most people who’ve used it say that it provides plenty of power even on the low setting.
✔ Compact for travels
✔ Powerful frothing system
✔ Versatile usage
✔ Crafted for durability
✘ Does not heat milk
✘ Poor On/Off switch location
✘ Rechargeable batteries would be better
Norpro Glass Froth Master
- 2-cup capacity beaker
- Plastic lid
- Rubber base
- Microwavable beaker
Sometimes, the best milk frother doesn’t need to be battery-powered or corded. If you are looking for a frother that you can take to the camps and business trips without worrying about powering, the Norpro demands your attention.
Let not its all-glass construction worry you. The Froth Master is made of tempered glass. This is a type of safety glass made through a controlled thermal process to increase its strength. Of course, it will break if mishandled, but it will take up to 4 times more abuse than standard glass before breaking or scratching.
This milk frother consists of a glass beaker with a 2-cup capacity and a pump handle built on the handle. To make froth using the Norpro, you only add enough milk to the max fill line and pump the handle up and down for 10-20 seconds.
The best part about the glass beaker is that you can see as you froth forms. As such, you can create as much as you want. To make up for its non-heating design, the Norpro allows you to heat the milk in the microwave before scooping the froth onto your coffee blend, hot chocolate, latte, cappuccino, and more.
✔ Eye-catching design
✔ No power or battery necessary
✔ Takes all types of milk
✔ Beaker is microwavable
✘ Glass requires care
✘ Requires effort from you
✘ Requires manual frothing
Secura Milk Frother and Warmer
- 1-cup capacity
- Stainless steel exterior
- 2-year warranty
- Detachable base
This milk frother from Secura- as USA brand- looks quite similar to the Nespresso Aeroccino 3 that we saw earlier. The significant difference, however, is that the Secura is almost twice cheaper. Let’s give credit where it’s due: this model will also win if we were to compare the 2 in terms of aesthetics.
The Secura is a 3-in-1 unit that you can use to heat milk, froth cold milk without heating for iced beverages, or froth and heat milk for hot drinks.
This particular milk frother has a capacity of around one cup. As such, we would not recommend it for entertaining or large groups. Good news, though, you can get the same model with a 2-cup capacity beaker on Amazon.
This milk frother has an exterior steel construction. It has an insulator to hold your milk and froth hot for some minutes too.
Compared to the Aeroccino 3, we appreciate that the Secura has a handle. So, even those with petite hands can comfortably use it. In addition, its mug has a nice spout for mess-free pouring.
✔ Great value-price ratio
✔ Creates very thick froths
✔ Beautiful design
✔ Relatively cheaper
✘ Small capacity
✘ Inconsistency with non-dairy milk
Overall, if we had to recommend just one milk frother from the above options, that would be the BMF600XL Milk Café. Although it’s relatively pricier than the rest, Breville has clearly put all stops into delivering a versatile and reliable model with this unit. Besides its eye-catching design, what tilted the scale in its favor was the velvety and stable froths that it makes.
Frothed Milk or Steamed Milk- What is The Difference?
What is frothed milk?
This refers to milk that has been aerated by agitating air through it. During the aeration process, tiny bubbles are created in the milk, thereby making it lighter, and increasing is volume. Frothed milk is much denser and lighter than steamed milk.
Non-fat or skimmed milk is the best for frothing. It’s also the easiest to deal with, especially if you are a beginner. Since this milk does not have fat, it’s straightforward to get a light and airy foamy. However, the flavor won’t be as rich as what you’d get in other types of milk.
What is steamed milk?
This is the end product of exposing milk to a high pressured steam. It is created when steam is gradually introduced into the milk, thereby causing its natural fats to expand by 3-4 folds, and create a layer of small milk bubbles.
The best results of steamed milk come from the steam wand of an espresso machine. However, you can also use a stove or an electric frother. Compared to frothed milk, steamed milk is heavier.
Detailed Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose a Milk Frother or Steamer?
Different Types of Milk Frothers and Steamers
When you start comparing frothers and steamers in general, you’ll realize that they come in 3 different types;
These are the most basic types of frothers and the most inexpensive too. As the name implies, they are small handheld units with a whisk on one end and a handle on the other end.
Handheld frothers are powered by replaceable batteries and are very easy to move around with. To use it, you only need to hold the whisk in a jug and press a button to manually froth the milk to your desired consistency.
Besides their affordability, the other advantage of these frothers is their compatibility with different types of drinks from cold milkshakes to hot chocolate.
On the flip side, these modes don’t warm the milk. So, you’ll still need to do that manually. In addition, purchasing a new set of batteries could be somewhat inconveniencing and expensive down the road.
These are by far the most convenient and what most inexperienced home baristas go with. These models combine a frother and a heating system. While some offer one temperature option, others allow a wide-angle of temperature adjustments, which is great for customization.
Compared to handheld frothers, the chief advantage that electric models offer is their hands-off operations. In most instances, using these models is as easy as pressing a single button. Depending on the model, most of them are very easy to clean too and will only require a rinse or wipe. Most of them are dishwasher-safe also.
These frothers consist of a metallic or glass jug with a frothing pump fixated on the lid. To use it, you add milk into the jar and use the pump handle to create foam.
Most people prefer these frothers due to their high level of customization. You have total control of how thick you want your froth. In addition, since they are not electric, the fear of some components breaking or burning is eliminated.
However, since they are not automated, it requires some effort on your side to make gourmet coffee drinks. Also, these models don’t have a built-in thermometer. Thus, you’ll need to have a separate thermometer or guess when the milk is hot to your liking.
Ease of Use
The main reason why we all enjoy coffee shop drinks is because of convenience. So, if you are going to start making your shots in your kitchen, then you need to make sure that your go-to steamer/frother will offer you an easy time.
Check from the manual on how that particular product is used and access whether or not it’s ideal for your level of expertise. Buyers’ reviews on Amazon also offer genuine feedback on how easy it is to use a particular product.
Temperature control is a critical aspect when steaming or frothing milk. These 2 processes involve heating the milk to break down the proteins. Home espresso machines steam milk at the ideal temperature of 150°F – 165°F.
If you are using a standalone milk frother or steamer, a unit that features a built-in thermometer may be the best way to go. Otherwise, you’ll want to get a separate thermometer to ensure that the temperature of the milk reaches the required temperature range and does not burn.
When purchasing your home coffee-brewing paraphernalia (coffee machine, grinder, frother), you want to ensure that each unit will be a breeze to keep clean. Handheld frothers are seemingly the easiest to keep clean. However, the fact that you’ll need to warm the milk separately means that you’ll have an additional item to clean.
Electric and most manual models take the lead here. On this note, you might want to go with a unit with a non-stick interior lining to minimize the need for frequent scrubbing. Things will be much easier if the canister and frothing parts can go in the dishwasher.
Do you entertain friends often?
If you are often entertaining friends, a milk frother that can create several cups of foam at once is going to be your best bet. Also, keep in mind that not everyone will be into coffee. Actually, if you regularly require something else other than coffee, a model that can make other hot drinks such as tea leaves or hot chocolate will make more sense.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which is the best milk to froth for cappuccinos?
Skimmed or non-fat milk offers the best option for these drinks since it provides the largest bubbles. The flavor is significantly compromised, though.
Can you froth powdered milk?
Yes, you can. Importantly, for best results, you want to go with skimmed, powdered milk. This is an ideal candidate for lattes thanks to its excellent foam expansion and stability.
Do you froth/steam milk hot or cold?
You could use either since these processes generally involve heating the milk while frothing or steaming. When using hot milk, ensure that it’s not too hot to prevent it from burning or splashing.
5 Tips for Frothing/Steaming Milk like a Pro Barista
- Consider starting with cold or slightly warm milk. This offers you more time to customize your foam.
- Get creative by adding a few drops of your favorite food color to the milk before frothing.
- Avoid using boiling milk as it does not create good froth.
- If you are using a hand-pumped frother, allow the frothed milk to stand for one minute before pouring. This allows the bubbles to get a stronger bond.
- Did you know that you can use foam as a topping for your coffee-infused spirits? Just be sure to match the flavors correctly.