If you’re more of a latte or cappuccino versus a pour over coffee person in the morning, you’re probably wondering what’s the best milk frother to recreate that cafe experience. While there plenty of options out there, ranging from battery-powered to electric to stovetop options, they’re not all created equal. Some are more beginner-friendly while others will require a little more time to master.
But before you decide on which frother to get there’s one thing to keep in mind: the consistency of your foam. You’ll want it pearl-like and that requires a little technique. To get that texture, fill your container to about 80% full. Place the wand at a slight angle so that you create a sort of whirlpool as you froth. It should take about 20 seconds to get it perfect but practice makes perfect here. Eventually you’ll know when it’s ready by feel and sound.
When your steamed milk and foam are ready, there are a some ratios to keep in mind for your drink. Start with a base of espresso and working your way up. A macchiato is espresso with only a dollop of foam. A cortado (sometimes called a Gibraltar for the name of the glassware it is served in) is equal parts espresso and foam. A cappuccino is equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and foam. A dry cappuccino is espresso with extra foam substituting the steamed milk, while a flat white is espresso with extra steamed milk substituting the foam. Finally, a latte is espresso with 2-4 parts steamed milk, and some foam on top.
As for latte art, well, that’ll take even more practice but here’s a handy shortcut in the form of stencils.
Ready to get one? Here are our picks for the 15 best milk frothers.
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The Beginner Option
If you’re looking for the perfect tool to start with, this is the one. The PowerLix is easy-to-use and features an ergonomic handle plus a stainless steel wand. It comes in a range of colors, and is battery powered yet durable enough to last for years.
The Low-Tech Option
No need for a wall socket or batteries, this frother is fully hand-powered. That might be a bit too laborious for daily use, but if you want a cappuccino while camping, this is the perfect accessory. And if you do want to use it at home, it’s microwave-safe which makes heating the milk that much easier.
For the Smaller Kitchen
This stainless steel, battery-powered wand is lightweight and small, so it’s easy to stash out of sight in a cupboard. Plus, when you’re back in the office, you can keep this in your desk to fancy up free work coffee.
If You Like a Really Fluffy Drink
While you might need to manually move this frother, it features a double-mesh screen that creates more aeration while you pump. That means you get a fluffier end result to dollop over your drink. Also, if you’re into creating a certain aesthetic in your kitchen, this sleek design looks quite nice on a table or kitchen counter.
If You’re Looking to Make a Few Drinks at Once
As the largest of the hand-pump frothers, accommodating nearly 2 cups of milk, this is a good option if you’re making drinks for a few people in the morning. Add to that an ergonomic rubber grip and heavy duty glass exterior, and you have solid buy.
The Set It and Forget It Option
If you want to press a button and get foam or steamed milk, this is the machine for you. All you have to do is fill the container with cold milk, hit start, and in a minute it’ll be ready. There’s also an auto-shutoff feature ensures you don’t burn your liquid.
The Coffee Lover’s Choice
Coffee fans know that Hario makes some of the most trusted gear from pour over setups to scales and their frother is no different. Place your milk in the jug, hit go, and you’ll get a fluffy, blended concoction in a matter of moments.
For Better Temperature Control
In addition to its stainless steel body, the Secura frother is vacuum insulated to keep the temperature of your milk stable. You can make both hot and cold froth in addition to warming your milk for lattes.
If You Make Lactose-Free Lattes
Most frothers are less than ideal for alternative milks like almond or coconut but reviews praise its ability to create a thick and rich froth in two minutes. Should you prefer a thinner consistency or to just warm up your milk, the device can also do that quickly as well.
For a Quieter Morning Routine
The frother works in near silence, which is perfect for early risers who want steamed milk, but don’t want to wake their partner/roommate. Plus, they add in a spare set of whisks to give your purchase more longevity.
The Easy to Clean Option
Most frothers require hand washing which can be a pain to do every morning. This one features a detachable, dishwasher safe cup and wand for easy clean up. Like their competitors, all you have to do is press a button and it’ll quietly foam up your milk. One caveat: there’s no cold froth setting.
If You’re a Nespresso Fan
So you own a Nespresso coffee machine and now you want to transform that espresso into a latte? Get the matching foamer and you’ll have everything you need for the perfect drink. The sleek looking design takes up minimal space on the counter and offers both hot and cold foam options.
For a Silkier Textured Foam
Where the other automatic frothers on this list use a whisk or hand-pump, this one uses discs. This technique creates smaller bubbles which means a silkier textured foam. There’s also a temperature control dial so you can heat your milk to your preferred temperature.
For the Advanced User
If you want something that mimics the steam wand on a fancy coffee machine, this is the frother to get. It’ll make both the espresso and the foam for your drink. For those who like to camp, it’s a handy two-for-one that will fit into your pack. That said, if you’re new to using a steam wand, this will take a bit more practice than other options on this list.
At $200, this is by far the most expensive option and the cost is for a two reasons. One, it’s Smeg so you’re buying into their signature retro aesthetic. Two, it does come with seven settings including options for hot and cold milk, as well as “thick” and “light” froth.