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As a rule, all coffee shops serve most milk-based beverages with that gorgeous mountain of frothed milk on top which adds the finishing touch to any speciality. Most coffee enthusiasts try to recreate this creamy experience at home and opt for milk frothers. This handy device saves a great deal of money and allows the making of lattes and cappuccinos at home, forming delicious milk micro-foam on your own.
What Is Milk Frother?
So, what is a milk frother? The definition is simple – it is a utensil for making milk froth. It fact, it is a quick, no-mess, and easy way to create perfect velvet-like foam that always catches your eye when you buy drinks at coffee shops. Most of frothers are easy to operate by pressing a single button. It is an indispensable tool, which prepares hot, warm, and cold milk foam in a couple of minutes.
Its working mechanism is based on aerating (adding air to) your dairy (organic milk) and non-dairy (almond, soy, coconut milk) products into a rich froth. Let’s differentiate between the main types of this convenient device.
Frothers come in different sizes, shapes, and technical characteristics offered by a number of brands. Here is a short guide to the main types available on the market:
Handheld Milk Frothers
Handheld frothers are the most common type of home frothers. As the name suggests, they are operated by hand.
They work the same as blenders and have a similar appearance. These tools have a wand part with a whisk at the end which looks like a small propeller. They are easy to use and store. Most of them are battery operated.
Consider the following advantages and drawbacks before making a purchase.
- Affordable price
- Lightweight and portable
- Simple operation and cleaning
- Can be used to froth a small quantity of milk
- Makes foam in cold and hot milk
- Some appliances have limited temperature control
- The units are not durable
- A longer process of frothing due to reduced potency
- Doesn’t heat milk (that should be done separately)
- Eats up lots of power (have spare batteries ready)
- Can be messy
Manual Milk Frothers
Manual frothers include a carafe (stainless steel or glass) with a lid and operate mainly as a coffee press. There is a hole in the lid so that a plunger can pass through it.
There is a mesh screen at the bottom of the plunger. When you pump the handle up and down, the mesh screen makes foam in the milk. These tools are human powered and rely on the person who presses the pump repeatedly. Usually, it takes half a minute to double the milk volume and generate foam. These appliances are also called stovetop frothers, because you can place them on a stove while operating.
- No batteries and electricity required
- Simple to handle
- Durable, because it contains fewer components that can break
- You have control over foam density
- You can save money on the gym and develop significant arm muscles
- Some models have a small jug, which requires a lot of batches to get the desired amount of foam
- Takes more time to make foam
Electric (Automatic) Milk Frothers
Due to their design, the majority of electric frothers looks like electric kettles. They are versatile and come in different styles. They run on electricity and require one button click to heat milk and get marvelous foam for your morning coffee. They are fully automatic and don’t need you to babysit the milk. The operation requires no skills to use – just fill the jar with milk, press the button, and wait for the result.
All the models differ in the settings, like the range of temperature control, foam density, etc. They have a galaxy of functions, and can be used for making milkshakes, milk soup, or hot chocolate.
These frothers include a jug where you pour the milk, a lid, a power base, and a whisk for making foam. Some models have this whisk attached to the lid or placed inside the jug. For example, like in Aeroccino 4 milk frother by Nespresso. The majority of these devices heat and froth milk at the same time. After the process is done, they shut off automatically. Depending on the construction, they can be either cleaned in a dishwasher or washed by hand.
- Hands-free operation
- Most appliances provide a number of settings
- The most convenient and easiest use
- Doesn’t burn milk
- Small devices prepare a limited number of drinks
- Cheaper items have only one setting for temperature and for foam consistency
- More expensive than other frother types
- Can be noisy
How Does a Milk Frother Work?
How does this device work? Each frothing tool does the same thing – milk aeration by agitating as much air as possible. This produces bubbles within the milk, makes its texture lighter, and increases its volume by more than two times. The working mechanism depends on the type of the appliance. Overall, the maintenance is very easy, and some devices don’t even come with a manual.
Designer coffees and teas have become very popular, so the demand for frothers is growing. Isn’t it tasty to mix the sharp and dense flavor of strong coffee with the light and creamy texture of milk?
Before buying this kitchen gadget, consider a number of factors, like working speed, power source, foam quality, and your budget. With your own milk frother, you will forget about flat and boring caffeinated beverages in the morning.