I don’t know about other coffee purists, but I can’t quite kick the habit of adding dairy to my coffee. Sure, I’ll enjoy a black coffee every now and then, but the texture and flavor that some creamy, frothy milk adds to an espresso shot just makes it out of this world.
Coffee is one thing, coffee infused with steamed milk blows everything out of the water(hue hue).
Note: Before we get into the best milk frothers, if you really want decadent, and I mean DECADENT cappuccinos/lattes/etc, then add one part heavy cream to two parts milk, and froth that mixture. When you pour your espresso shot into that mixture, you’ll forget that you’re on earth and for those precious few moments, end up in a fantasy land of coffee, cream, and exquisiteness.
Milk frothers abound in most popular espresso machines – a lot of machines have two parts to them, and use the same water you fill in the tank to prepare the espresso shot and inject steam into your cup of milk to really froth it up.
By the way, if you use a microwave and just pour your finely crafted espresso shot into warm milk, please stop(unless you like it that way and you’ve tried it the other way and decided you did not like it).
Simply warming up the milk does not do coffee justice – frothing completely changes the milk’s texture, injects a whole dimension of volume, and results in an amazingly smooth taste. There’s just no other way to enjoy dairy in your coffee.
If you don’t froth, you’re not doing it right.
- 1 Automatic vs Manual frothers
- 2 So how do you go about frothing?
- 3 Best milk frother: top picks and reviews
- 4 Milk frother buying guide
- 5 Tips to froth milk
- 6 Conclusion
Automatic vs Manual frothers
There is much discussion about the benefit of automatic frothers over manual frothers and vice versa. But which is actually the best for the coffee aficionado? Well, the best milk frothers require a bit of research, so we will compare all the pros and cons for each milk frother.
When it comes to speed, the best milk frothers will always be manual. After all, a manual handheld milk frother will get that prime texture in as little as fifteen seconds. On the the other hand, an electric milk frother or battery operated milk frother can take up to ninety seconds.
So, does that mean the manual handheld milk frother is always best? Not necessarily, because the electric milk frother as well as battery operated frother does have advantages. One of the advantages of the electric milk frother over the manual frother is the addition of temperature control.
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Evidently, this means that you can decide how much you want to heat the milk with your electric frother for the best possible result. An electric frother or battery operated frother tends to be quite convenient as well, as you do not have to do anything yourself. With a manual frother, you have to be there for the entire process.
Does the frother heat milk as well?
As mentioned briefly in the previous section, some frothers for milk will have a temperature setting for hot or cold milk. So, if you wish to warm up the milk as well as getting the texture right, it can be worth looking into these electric milk frothers. On the flipside, they are less fast and much harder to control compared to the manual milk frothers.
How fast does it froth?
If you are looking for speed, then the best milk frother will be manual. As mentioned earlier, the best and fastest manual milk frothers tend to do their job in fifteen seconds. Although, we would say 20 seconds is about the average you will find with most machines.
In some cases, the types of milk you work with can require a different frothing time. So, while dairy milk could only take you 20 seconds with a manual frother for milk, the same frother might need 30 seconds for almond milk. But at the end of the day, it is still faster than some of the best milk frothers that work automatically.
So how do you go about frothing?
The easy way is to just use the frother that’s built into your espresso machine. However, your espresso machine may not have a frother built in, or the one that it has is terrible, in which case you need to pick up a frother, and fast.
My first espresso machine was an inexpensive machine that produced decent espresso shots but was impossible to use the frother on. I had to fill milk in a tank, insert a rubber pipe, press the steam button at just the right time, and end up with mediocre quality frothed milk.
On top of that, it was a huge pain to clean up – an often forgotten factor of the otherwise glamorous process that is espresso making.
Best milk frother: top picks and reviews
1. Breville BMF600XL Milk Cafe Milk Frother
There’s just something about hot dairy that is comforting, filling, and incredibly enjoyable to drink – and the Breville BMF600XL is a hot dairy powerhouse.
Even though it’s the most expensive milk frother on the list, it may be a worthwhile investment because first, it has the Breville name on it, which is synonymous with great coffee and espresso.
The Breville uses induction heating – so it’s actually a two piece unit, where you’d place the jug of milk on the top – so there is only one thing to wash, which has no electrical components in it, so you can just stick it in the dishwasher.
There are two discs(which spin to create the froth) that you can use and are included with the machine when you buy it – one for just making hot milk, such as for a regular latte, and one for extreme frothing, such as for a cappuccino.
The manufacturer even advertises that you could throw some hot chocolate powder into the mixer and you’ll have well mixed, perfectly heated, creamy hot chocolate!
The temperature is adjustable, and whatever temperature you set, the machine will auto shut off once that has been reached.
The only issue, really, with this machine is that it is a little too large and if you are making a single small shot of espresso, then you’ll have to make a lot more milk than you need. But if you plan on using this for entertaining or for couple’s coffee, then there is truly no better machine.
- Adjustable temperature for hot and cold milk
- Induction heat
- Easy to clean
- Expensive compared to other machines with milk frother function
- Too large for compact kitchens
2. Nespresso Aeroccino
Next up on our list is the Nespresso Aeroccino Plus, which is quite similar to the Breville above in that it bears a solid name, Nespresso, and uses induction heating to heat up the milk.
It also comes with two disks, one for just warming and one for frothing, but unlike the Breville, it does not have temperature control, so you only have options for hot or cold milk.
Cleaning is not as easy as popping it in a dishwasher, but it’s still fairly easy with a quick rinse and scrub and should not take you more than a few minutes.
Whereas the Breville machine was too large, the Nespresso is a little too small for making multiple cups of coffee – though it is ideal for one or two cups, so perfect for couples.
One gripe that many people have about the Nespresso is its reliability – many people have reported their machines dying prematurely, and even though some were able to qualify for a replacement, it’s still an unnecessary inconvenience.
- Uses induction heating to heat up milk
- Fairly easy to clean
3. Epica Automatic Electric Milk Frother and Heater Carafe
The final automatic milk frother we have on our list is the Epica – if you have not heard of Epica, it’s for good reason – it’s a white label company, so they don’t run advertising campaigns or anything of the sort.
In the same way the Nespresso was a budget version of the Breville, the Epica is a budget version of the Nespresso. It’s pretty much identical except that the Epica uses a fitted disk to froth the milk, whereas the Nespresso and Breville use magnets to hold the disk in place.
The magnet is of course more efficient, since mechanical parts tend to get stuck after some time.
There are three settings on the Epica: cold froth, hot froth, and hot milk, depending on what kind of beverage you are in the mood for. For hot milk, it can fit up to 8 oz or one cup of milk.
For frothing, you’ll be at half of that or 4 oz – so essentially you can only do one cup at a time.
Still, the whole process takes little under a minute, so it’s not that bad.
There is a 2 year warranty provided by the manufacturer so even though it’s a lesser known brand, your purchase is protected.
Reviews for the Epica milk frother are overwhelmingly positive, and I think that is a combination of the simplicity of the device(you are giving up some extra bells and whistles), the reliability, and the price – these three factors combined make it the best budget milk frother you can get.
- Comes with a 2 year warranty
- Three settings for milk froth functionality
- Very affordable
- Mechanical components can get damaged prematurely
- Can only do one cup at a time
4. Bellemain Stainless Steel Handheld Milk Frother
If you need to get your frothy fix of caffeine on the road – or prefer putting more of your hands into your creations, then pick up a manual milk frother such as this one by Bellemain. You don’t need to worry about electricity – and washing it becomes very easy.
All you need to do is fill up milk and get cranking for about 2 minutes, after which you’ll have some lovely, thick frothy milk.
The only issue with a manual milk frother is that there is no way to heat the milk, so you have to heat in the microwave and pop it in to get frothing. Otherwise, if you try and heat after frothing, you will lose a lot of the bubbles in the process.
The biggest advantage with a manual frother is the lack of electronics, so less things can go wrong, and the cost, which is a fraction of anything else available on the market.
This frother can do up to 14 oz at once, which is enough for 2 to 3 cups.
- Easy to clean
- No electronic components leading to more durability
- No temperature control
- It takes two minutes to get frothy milk
5. Norpro Glass froth master
Being one of the most affordable frother options out there, the Norpro was an option well-worth investigating. And once I started looking into this milk frother, I was anything but disappointed.
Firstly, the Norporo produces quite a light and long froth, which is helped further by the stainless steel whisk that comes with this glass milk frother. The frother does not require anything in terms of electricity or battery power either, as it is completely manual.
One of the more interesting features is that the base of the froth master can be removed, making it more lightweight overall. But even with the base still on, the Norporo is one of the lighter milk frothers out there.
This manual milk frother has few downsides. Unfortunately, it does not come with an option for hot and cold milk. It also does not have a warranty and is not dishwasher safe. Nevertheless, considering the affordable price and the quality you get as a standard, these are minor in my opinion.
- Produces lovely light frother milk
- Can be made lighter for easier operation
- Light due to glass construction
- Extremely affordable
- No warranty
- Not dishwasher safe
- No temperature regulation
6. Powerlix Milk Pro
The Powerlix Milk Pro is quite impressive in terms of the froth is creates. And even though it comes with a powerful 19,000 RPMs motor, it hardly makes any noise.
Another benefit of the Powerlix is that it makes your milk froth in as little as 15 seconds. The longest I spent trying to get my perfect foam was 20 seconds, so that is pretty amazing for a handheld frother.
The easy maintenance is another reason why I really liked the Powerlix Milk Pro. All you need to do is place your equipment in a hot glass of water and turn it on.
Of course, there were some downsides. While I did get a good foam with the Powerlix, there is no temperature control here. So, if you want your milk warm, you will have to spend a bit of extra time heating it.
- Low noise
- 15 seconds delivers a good foam
- Extremely affordable
- Easy maintenance
- No temperature control
7. Miroco Stainless Steel Milk Frother
One of the things that captured my attention was that this stainless steel frother would be incredibly easy to clean, and it turned out that way too. In addition to that, there is no doubt that the stainless steel construction makes this quite the durable addition to your coffee routine.
The Miroco Stainless Steel milk frother is also quite affordable, especially compared to the more expensive electric options. And on top of that, this forther comes with a heating function too, saving you valuable time.
I could not find anything wrong with this frother upon first glance, but after some research it seems that some consumers find that the Miroco can be rather noisy. That being said, everyone’s tolerance for noise levels is different.
- Easy to use
- Easy to clean
- Can be rather noisy
Milk frother buying guide
Is this the first time you are looking for the perfect milk frother, but no idea where to start. Well, let me help you find your way in the world of milk frothers by giving you my selection criteria
Handheld vs jug
In general, you will have the choice between the handheld option and the jug. I find that the jug is more convenient and precise overall, at least according to the models currently available. The large majority of jugs are also dishwasher safe, which makes for a much easier cleanup too.
Of course, some prefer the handheld option and there are some advantages. If you purchase handheld though, always do your research as not all of them are made equal.
Some materials are more durable, while others are lighter. In our overview, you have seen examples made from stainless steel as well as glass. Stainless steel tends to be the most durable, while glass can be considerably lighter and easier to move around.
Choosing a build material comes down to determining your own requirements. For example, if heavier forthers can be difficult for you to handle due to mobility issues, it could be better to choose glass. On the flipside, if you are looking for durability, stainless steel is always a good way to go.
What kind of milk does it handle?
Now, this is a fact that is often overlooked by coffee aficionados. If you work with anything other than standard dairy milk – for example, almond milk, coconut milk or soy milk – make sure your frother is compatible. The types of milk that can be used with your milk frother should always be described in the product description. If not, check the manufacturer website directly for more detailed information.
Tips to froth milk
Now you know how to froth milk, but can I give you some additional tips to make your froth the envy of other coffee lovers? Of course I can and here they are!
Stopping at the right time
Nothing can ruin a froth than continuing well over the time you need. Doing so could cause problems with consistency and texture, but could also make your froth too heavy and ruin your carefully brewed cup of coffee.
Frothing times can vary according to milk type, but also according to the frother you are using. This has been illustrated with numerous examples in our overview. If you are uncertain, simply look for the frothing time on the manufacturer’s website, but do not forget to take into account milk type.
Volume increases as air is incorporated
Always remember that the volume of your milk will increase as your froth it. After all, a frother works by adding more air into the mixture, which basically causes it to expand considerably. You will notice as you start frothing that you will make this mistake often, but no need to worry, you will soon master your amounts.
There are plenty of milk frothers available and they all have their advantages. At the end of the day, your choice will depend on the kind of features you are looking for. Some might prefer a milk frother that is dishwasher safe and durable, while others prefer the speed and precision a manual frother brings.
Of course, my overview has also shown that there is such a thing as balance. Some electric frothers can be remarkably fast as well, although you usually have to pay a little more. In other words, do not rule out electric options if speed carries your preference, as a little more investment could bring you convenience as well as speed.
But if you are a beginner, start with the affordable options before considering the more expensive models. After all, this helps you determine exactly which properties you value most.
Last update on 2020-11-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API