Ever wondered how those beautiful latte arts are made at your favorite coffee shop? Aside from the standard café ingredients and espresso machines, there’s one other essential tool that every barista needs to produce the foamy and airy layer that’s standard in every cappuccino, mocha, and café latte – the milk frother. While many home coffee enthusiasts overlook the need for one, a milk frother can elevate the taste and feel of every cup of coffee you whip up every morning, afternoon, or night. If you’re not quite convinced, continue reading! We’ll discuss what a milk frother is, its different uses (aside from aerating milk), and why it should be part of your coffee station at work or at home.
What Are Milk Frothers?
Milk frothers are small handheld devices or built-in tools on espresso machines that are used to create froth out of milk. While you can enjoy frothy milk on its own, this airy layer is best enjoyed on top of some of the most popular coffee drinks, including café lattes, cappuccinos, and mochas. They're also great for making creamy hot chocolate and other specialty coffee drinks.
How Do Milk Frothers Work?
There are three types of milk frothers available today – automatic handheld frothers, manual milk frothers, and built-in milk frother wands. These use various techniques to produce the milk froth layer on many coffee drinks. To help you better visualize, here are their main differences:
- Manual milk frother - This tool uses a plunger-like mechanism to aerate milk or other liquids – producing air bubbles with its up-and-down motion.
- Automatic handheld frother - An automatic handheld milk frother uses the same kind of technology that handheld mixers use. Equipped with a small circular spring-like tip, automatic frothers use fast, circular motions to spin milk and create small bubbles in the milk foam.
- Built-in milk frother wand - Most professional and fully automatic coffee machines come with built-in grinders and milk frothers. These wands are used to heat and aerate milk by pushing hot steam into the milk until it has a full layer of froth. For baristas, however, a foam wand is also used to enhance the mouthfeel of milk for a creamier and sweeter taste.
What Other Uses Do Milk Frothers Have?
While milk frothers are primarily used in creating coffee-based drinks, they’re not really limited to coffee-making alone. If you’re trying to discover other uses for your milk frother, here are a few examples to try:
1. Make soups extra thick.
Warm soups are excellent for rainy days and cold weather. Enjoy thicker and creamier soups with the help of milk frothers. All you need to do is froth warm soup using your wand and wait for it to get a thicker consistency before eating or serving.
2. Mix foamy cocktails.
Festive cocktails are typically served with a thick layer of foam. Achieve this at home by frothing egg whites or gelatin and slowly whipping it until you get the right consistency you need. Add it to the top of your cocktails and add your finishing garnishes.
3. Whip up sauces and salad dressings.
Are you a huge salad fan? Prepare thick salad dressings and sauces with your milk frother by using it like a small mixer. Mix your ingredients in a small container and wait for them to be completely incorporated into one another.
4. Make whipped cream.
Add a delicious, whipped cream layer to your smoothies and frappuccinos with your handy milk frother. All you need to do is pour a small amount of whipping cream into a small cup or mug and froth it as you would warm milk. Whip the cream until it’s thick and scoop it out onto your drink of choice.
5. Add volume to your breakfast omelets.
Want extra fluffy breakfast omelets or scrambled eggs? Use your handheld milk frother to quickly whip your eggs before frying them. All you need to do is froth your eggs for one minute or until you get a uniform foam layer. Fry your eggs as usual, and enjoy fluffier omelets for your breakfast.
How to Clean a Milk Frother
Now that you’re familiar with the different uses of a milk frother, you now might be wondering how to clean it.
Don't worry. It’s pretty simple. All you need is some warm water and dish soap. For handheld milk frothers, just combine some warm water and a few drops of liquid dish soap. Run the frother for a few seconds or minutes until all milk residue is removed from the coiled tip. You may also use a small brush to better clean the spaces between the coils.
For built-in milk froth or steam wands, however, you will need to remove the metal head and wash it under warm water. Note that milk wands need to be cleaned after every use to avoid milk residue from building up on the tip. Do this by flushing the steam wand every after use by directing it down and letting it run for a few seconds. For regular maintenance, you would need to soak some parts of your steam wand with specialized solutions, which are typically specified by your espresso machine’s manufacturers.
Milk Frother: A Versatile Kitchen Tool for All Coffee Lovers
There are many reasons you should invest in a good milk frother. Aside from its ability to add a creamy and delicious milk foam on top of your coffee drinks, milk frothers can also be widely used in the kitchen – making it a multifunctional kitchen tool that everyone can benefit from. So, whether you’re a coffee enthusiast or you’re just an individual curious about what other uses milk frothers have, this tool is undeniably worthy of your investment.
Fortunately, milk frothers and espresso machines with steam wands are widely available in the market today – making them an accessible tool for anyone to have. If you’re looking for a high-quality milk froth wand, look no further than Curated. With our selection of high-quality coffee equipment, machines, and ingredients, you can easily find what you’re looking for to make your coffee journey all the better.