The Best Milk Steamer/Frother – Take Your Coffee to the Next Level
The best milk steamer and frother can take the home coffee experience to the next level of decadence. Investing in perfectly roasted beans and good coffee equipment can make a perfectly good cup of coffee. Adding a layer of foam can bring the coffee shop into the home. Countertop milk steamers and milk frothers make that possible with the pushes of a few buttons. They sometimes even produce better results than the coffee shop. In addition, these versatile machines can be used to go beyond coffee. Hot chocolate and even tea can benefit from a countertop milk steamer and frother.
What exactly is milk steaming and frothing? Steaming injects steam into the milk, which adds delicious texture and velvety microfoam. It also heats the milk, making it sweeter and releasing delightful caramel notes. In a coffee shop, this is usually done with a steam wand attached to the espresso machine.
Milk frothing whips air into the milk with a whisk and without injecting any steam. Similar to using a mixer and heavy whipping cream to make whipped cream, the whisk whips air into milk to make froth. Froth can be made either with warm or cold milk. Cold froth is most often used for iced coffees or cold, summertime drinks. Hot froth is used in hot drinks like coffee, tea and hot chocolate. Handheld frothers are not able to heat milk, while the countertop models are able to do it all.
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Steaming and frothing milk is all about chemistry. The hotter milk gets, the more it will have those sweeter, caramel notes. However, when milk starts getting up to 175 degrees Fahrenheit, the milk begins to scald and tastes unpleasant. One feature to look for when finding the right milk steamer and frother is how hot it is able to heat the milk. A milk frother or steamer is able to achieve different flavors at different temperatures.
Milk steamers and frothers also have the ability to warm milk. This is useful not only to keep coffee from cooling down, but can also be used for tea, hot chocolate and even in baking. If a recipe calls for warm milk, using a milk frother is a fast way to make that happen without fear of milk scalding and a big mess. Yeast also likes warm companions, and milk under 120 degrees Fahrenheit can help make yeast happy. Beyond baking and coffee, milk steamers and frothers make fantastic favorites like chai lattes, teas and hot chocolates.
When figuring out which milk steamer and frother is best for each person’s lifestyle, here are some other features to consider. For someone who struggles through mornings, the number of button pushes and complexity of use will determine how often this appliance is actually used. How easy it is to clean factors into this as well. This list goes through some great machines to find the best milk steamer and frother for each lifestyle.
With the Nespresso Aeroccino3, the coffee of anyone’s dreams is only one button push away. It is amazingly simple to operate — one second of pressure will turn on a red light, and it will make hot steamed milk. Two seconds of pressure on the button will activate a blue light, and the Aeroccino3 will make cold milk froth. It does all of this quietly to help make rough mornings go as well as they can. On the counter, it takes up less space than the average grapefruit. To fit seamlessly in any kitchen’s decor, it comes in black or white. It does not have handles, but the sides are ribbed and easy to grip. There is an automatic shutoff safety feature. Constructed from nonstick material, this milk frother is not dishwasher safe. Nonstick material makes cleanup as easy as wiping it through with a wet cloth and some dish soap. Eventually, some users experience an area of burnt-on milk on the nonstick surface. Now that the basics have been covered regarding how it looks and how it is cleaned, it is time to talk about how it performs as a milk steamer and frother. The froth it creates is perfect for cold beverages, and the steamed milk works for cappuccinos, espressos, hot chocolates or any other beverage that calls for tantalizingly textured milk. The Aeroccino3 can also be used successfully with nondairy milks. There might be some trial and error to figure out best practices, but other users have celebrated some spectacular successes. Because it is a timed cycle, it is possible to adjust the temperature by adjusting the amount of liquid used. For those who want their milk very hot, using less milk in the cycle will result in much hotter milk. Some experienced problems when positioning the whisk, which is magnetic locked into position. With some practice, it is definitely possible to create steamed or frothed milk fit for delicious coffee. The Aeroccino3 is suitable for making small amounts of steamed or frothed milk, but would not be the right tool to make large amounts of steamed or frothed milk on a regular basis. Depending on personal preference, some had to run the Aeroccino3 through at least two cycles to have enough milk for a single beverage. The benefit to it making less than a lot means that the milk must be fresh for each beverage.
Nespresso at a Glance:
- Milk Temperature: 160-170 degrees Fahrenheit
- Foam Qualities: Hot steamed milk, hot milk, cold frothed milk
- Number of Button Pushes: One
- Ease of Cleaning: Rinse with dish soap, try not to get water on the base
Four fantastic foam functions are achievable at home with the HadinEEon milk steamer and frother. These include warm dense or airy foam, warm milk, and cold milk foam for iced beverages. The warm airy foam creates the microfoam needed to make high quality latte art. There are two buttons, and making foam in the morning takes between two and five button pushes to get it started. A few minutes later, the milk is ready to be added to a beverage. While operating, the HadinEEon frother is very quiet. This frother makes enough for about two cappuccinos, depending on personal preference. After adding to the beverage of choice, the cleaning process is simple. While this frother cannot go in the dishwasher, the jug can be detached from the base, and then washed with an included cleaning brush. When cleaned immediately after use, it is easy to clean. If any time passes however, it is a great deal more difficult to clean. Also included is an extra whisk, either for use when one wears out or as an extra during cleaning. These whisks can be used to successfully froth several different kinds of cow milk, as well as nondairy milks and even coffee creamer. It does not heat milk up to the scalding point, which means for a more robust milk flavor. This feature also makes it perfect for those who prefer their coffee extra hot — it keeps the untamed milky flavor in half and half or milk without cooling their coffee down. On top of making luxurious foam, the HadinEEon has a chic silhouette that will look at home in any kitchen. Part of the silhouette is the sturdy handle, which gives the user more control over where the frothed/steamed milk goes. It only comes in white, however, so it may not match the other appliances.
HadinEEon at a Glance:
- Milk Temperature: 140-158 degrees Fahrenheit
- Foam Qualities: Warm dense foam, warm airy foam, warm milk, cold milk foam
- Number of Button Pushes: Between two and five, depending on which foam is desired
- Ease of Cleaning: Detach jug from base and wash with included sponge
To make large amounts of frothed milk, the Breville BMF600XL needs a minimum of one cup of milk to operate properly. It makes three cups of frothed milk every cycle, which is enough for two to three servings, depending on personal preference. Because of the large capacity, it takes up more space on the counter than other options. This milk frother is about as large as a blender. It does include magnetic storage for the two frothing disc options. However, it also comes with the ability to adjust the milk temperature as well as two discs for different coffee beverages. Control of the temperature means that different tastes can be accounted for as well as opening the door for experimentation. One unique feature that the BMF600XL offers is the ability to pour drink mixes and powders in to make truly decadent chai lattes and hot chocolate. In addition to heating milk, it can also create a cold milk froth for iced coffees and other summer drinks. Getting it up and running in the morning can be a little bit of a hassle, but that depends on how much of a morning struggle each person experiences. It does require choosing which disc to use, as that will determine the type of foam produced. From there, the temperature must be selected using a dial, and then a button is pushed. Blissful froth is ready. The additional steps make each cycle with the BMX600XL a little more of a hassle, but allow for a great deal more customization. However, there are mixed experiences with nondairy milk — sometimes it creates generous foam, but sometimes it does not. Unlike other milk steamers and frothers, the BMX600XL is made from stainless steel without teflon or other nonstick surfaces. It is dishwasher safe, which makes cleaning up a lot faster. However, it is heated via induction, and some users reported that it can be a fire hazard. Because Breville’s customer service is notoriously unpleasant, any potential problems this unit has are a hassle to resolve. However, it is a durable machine that consistently makes enough delicious foam to share.
Breville BMF600XL at a Glance
- Milk Temperature: Adjustable, 160+ degrees Fahrenheit
- Foam Qualities: Latte froth, cappuccino froth, cold foam, drink powders
- Number of Button Pushes: Temperature selection, disc selection, one button push
- Ease of Cleaning: Dishwasher safe
A more affordable option, the Secura milk frother and steamer offers a magnetically driven experience. It is loud and the plastic discs wear down over time, but it does produce luscious froth reliably. The Secura includes two whisks called discs that can be used to make different beverages. With a heating range of around 130-150 degrees Fahrenheit, the Secura heats milk to optimal temperatures for coffee, cappuccinos, lattes and hot chocolate. When a lower temperature is desired, the jug can be removed from the base prior to the cycle completing. Because this milk frother takes five minutes to froth milk, there is a larger window to make that possible. When the cycle completes, the Secura sounds a cheerful tone to alert the user that their beverage is ready to be assembled. Operating the Secura requires choosing a disc and then one to three button pushes, depending on what foam is desired. In combination with the enthusiastic tone, the Secura is not too complex to operate on even the roughest morning. To make pouring easier on such a morning, the spout and handle offer some control over where the froth will go after it is made. After it has been used, the jug can go directly in the dishwasher for easy cleanup. One challenge that many users experienced was that the minimum and maximum markings on the inside of the jug are difficult to read. The Secura presents a sleek outline, and the stainless steel and black base would look at home in most kitchen decor schemes. Its capacity is only a little more than a cup, so it does not take up a great deal of space. To save space, it does include magnetic storage of the disc not in use. Of course, the lower the capacity, the fewer drinks can be made with the frother. The Secura steamer and frother can make one to two servings in each cycle, depending on preference. Sometimes, nondairy milks do not fare as well as whole cow milk, which can be disappointing. The Secura is hit or miss with nondairy milks — again, that is all about the chemistry — but it does froth oat milk to perfection.
Secura at a Glance:
- Milk Temperature: 130-150 degrees Fahrenheit
- Foam Qualities: Hot froth, cold froth, hot milk, hot chocolate
- Number of Button Pushes: Disc choice, one to three button pushes
- Ease of Cleaning: Dishwasher safe
This stylish coffee frother is almost shaped like an oversized milk frothing pitcher, which makes it possible to make latte art with it. While it may be possible, the pitcher’s bulk might make creating latte art difficult. Whether it is used for latte art or not, the stainless steel outer finish and simple geometric shapes make it an aesthetically pleasing countertop appliance. Because the capacity minimum and maximum marks do not have any contrast, they can be difficult to see. That can make a bad day worse if this machine is overfilled. Beyond the visual, the Miroco frother is easy on the ears. When running through the two minute heating cycle, it whispers. After the milk is frothed, the handle and spout assist in pouring, and it is ready to be cleaned. Only the exterior is stainless steel — the interior is constructed of a nonstick surface that needs to be cleaned with the included cleaning brush. If it is not cleaned right away, the milk will dry on and be very difficult to remove. It does include two backup whisks in case the originals are misplaced or broken. Because the discs are so small, losing them is a distinct possibility. The Miroco holds one cup of frothed milk. This is enough for one beverage, depending on preference. For those who prefer less milk, one cycle’s yield would stretch for two beverages. It can froth certain nondairy milks to perfection, but others do not produce much froth at all. That is all dependent on chemistry. The fastest way to figure out if a favorite nondairy milk will froth robustly with this Miroco is by trial and error. Unlike figuring the nondairy milks out, the two button operation is so intuitive that it does not have to be learned through trial and error. A good choice for those who experience difficult mornings, the hardest part of using this frother is figuring out what beverage is desired. When hunting for the best milk steamer and frother, the Miroco is an affordable option that looks incredibly stylish.
Miroco at a Glance:
- Milk Temperature: 149 degrees Fahrenheit
- Foam Qualities: Heated froth, cold froth, warm milk
- Number of Button Pushes: One whisk choice and up to two button pushes
- Ease of Cleaning: Hand wash with included brush