Best Milk Frothers & Steamers 2017-2018 – The Coffee Barrister

Best Milk Frothers & Steamers 2017-2018

Best-Milk-Frothers-And-Milk-Steamers-Feature-Image

Are you a coffee enthusiast who want to make a nice, frothy cup of cappuccino or latte?

Perhaps you’re an aspiring home barista who recently got an espresso machine and want to improve their milk-based coffee game?

If it’s milk-based coffee you’re interested in, a dedicated milk steamer or frother will bring your coffee experience to the next level. A milk steamer/frother is a small little machine that helps you change the texture of your milk; it’s perfect for both coffee and non-coffee based drinks alike.

In this article, I’ll show you how to pick the best milk steamer and milk frother, let’s begin:

Product Comparison: Our Favorite Milk Frothers & Steamers 

After using different milk frothers and steamers throughout the years, these are our favorite ones! As usual, this is based on the result's quality, ease-of-use, ease-of-clean, and prices.


What Is The Difference Between A Milk Frother & Milk Steamer?

Firstly, we need to clear some things up first. Milk frothers and milk steamers are not the same thing. To an inexperienced barista, they might think its the same, but they're not!

While both of them heats the milk with a steam wand, a milk frother also injects air into the milk and creates a foamy layer. If you’re making a latte, you’ll want a milk steamer. If you’re making a cappuccino, you’ll want a milk frother.


Why Should You Get A Milk Steamer or Milk Frother?

If you’re just starting out, don’t neglect the milk if you’re brewing milk-based coffee! The milk component is equally important compared to the coffee.

By getting a dedicated milk steamer/frother, you’ll be able to brew quality milk-based coffee, just like the frothy ones from your favorite shop, all in the comfort of your own home. These little gadgets will give you the opportunity to make warm, smooth, and sweet tasting milk for hot drinks; coffee or non-coffee.

Let’s go in a bit more detail on why you might need one:

Foamed Milk

Coffee Milk Formation

The main benefit of getting a milk frother or steamer is for the milk foam.

You get foamed milk by heating the milk up and shaking it. This introduces air and texture into the mix.

In the picture above, the milk has a very thick texture and large air bubbles.

Foamed milk is ideal for drinks like cappuccinos. The foam will sit on top of the milk and coffee, it’ll create an interesting mouthfeel as you will be able to taste the separation.

Consistent Heating

Electric milk frothers/steamers are a convenient way to heat up milk without burning or scalding them; which makes them taste bad. Most products in the market are good at ensuring that the milk is just the perfect temperature, but I’ll help you find the best milk steamers and milk frothers here.

Save You Money

Ranging from $7 for a simple immersion wand to $60 for an electric tabletop frother, no matter how much you spend, you’ll always save money in the long run. That’s because you no longer have to go to a coffee shop and throw $4 - 6 for a latte or hot chocolate every single day.

But wait, there’s more! Depending on what you’re brewing, with a dedicated milk frother, you might not need one of those expensive espresso machines for home. A stovetop espresso machine or an AeroPress would do; they don’t cost a lot!

Functionality

If you make lots of different drinks at home, then you can use your milk frother or milk steamer for them too. Since the main purpose is for warming milk, they also go well with making hot chocolate, team, or even just a lovely cup of milk just before bed. They’re a useful kitchen tool to have in the house.


What To Know When You Buy One Of These Milk Whisking Products?

Types of Milk Frothers & Steamers

There are three main types of milk steamers and frothers:

Immersion

The immersion milk frother is usually a vibrating whisk that you can use to whip and whirl the milk in a cup or stove top pot warming the milk. The immersion whisk is usually the cheapest option for home milk frothing.

Manual

A manual milk frother looks very similar to a classic French Press. They use a closed vessel with a whisk attached to the handle. By manually pushing up and down on the milk, you’ll add air and texture. Like the immersion whisk, a manual milk frother requires you to steam the milk on the stovetop or in the microwave before use.

Electric

The costliest of the 3, electric milk frothers are also the most convenient. Other than changing the texture like the other two types, an electric milk frother also heats your milk up to the perfect temperature; it won’t be burnt or scalded. An electric milk frother comes in different shapes and sizes, it can range from a single-serving up to 16 servings.

When deciding which type of milk frother you would like to use, it is important to look at a few key factors to help with your decision.

Milk Texture

If you want to make the same silky texture and sweet taste milk like those in a decent coffee shop, you’ll have to create milk foam. This is the process where you introduce air and heat to milk. Typically, you inject air bubbles to milk that breaks down the protein bonds, which releases the sugar naturally found in milk.

When people froth or steam the milk, if done correctly, it should create a smooth texture and sweet taste.

For the best milk-based drink experience, you should agitate and whisk the milk during the heating process. By moving the milk around while it heats up, you prevent the milk from scalding. It also helps break down the fat in the milk, which helps release the protein bonds and create the sugary taste (as mentioned earlier).

Single Serving & Multi-Serving

While immersion wands are pretty good for a single serving of milk, what happens when you’re brewing coffee for a group of people? You don’t want to waste too much time frothing milk for everyone, one at a time, right?

When you buy your milk frother, keep in mind how many you’ll be serving, and how often. If you’re going to serve a group every time you use it, you should get an electric one, which is typically designed for multiple servings.

Ease of Cleaning

The more functionality and control the milk frother has, the more complicated the machine will be. Milk is notorious for getting in crevasses and small places that’re difficult to clean. If you don’t clean your equipment properly, everything will soon smell like sour milk - you don’t want that!

When you’re looking for your milk frother/steamer, make sure you buy one that’s easy to take apart (you don’t want to spend ages right?) and dishwasher safe. If you don’t the smell will haunt you really soon.

The Price

When you’re buying a milk frother or steamer, the price is definitely going to be a factor. Even though the most expensive ones are relatively inexpensive compared to other coffee equipment, the higher the cost, the more convenient it’ll be.

A higher price tag gives you more functionality and control. You’ll be able to automate nearly every single process, from the precise temperature all the way to how many times to whisk.

However, you need to take the size into consideration too. With all the added functionality and control, the size of the milk frother/steamer is usually bigger. This will take up valuable space in your kitchen, especially if it’s for home-use. So make sure you balance the cost and size when purchasing.

All-in-all, the price of a milk frother and milk steamer is a good indicator on how much space and time you’ll likely need to spend on it.

Personal Opinion

When I’m buying my own coffee equipment, I’m a firm believer in ease-of-use, especially if it’s for home-use. Therefore, when I look for a milk steamer or milk frother, I try to find something that’s easy-to-use, easy-to-clean, and will work 99% of the time with little effort.

As such, I personally prefer an electric milk steamer because they do all the work for you with just a flip of a switch. Some higher-end electric frothers are also dishwasher safe and can be easily disassembled; washing it will be a piece of cake.

When you pick which one to go for, keep in mind how much time and money you want to invest in it. How much time will I save, how convenient is this product, are there better options elsewhere?


What is the Best Milk Frothers & Milk Steams In Town?

Here's a mini-review of our favorite milk steamers and frothers. We've compared them using the 'things to look out for' described above. Let's go!

Epica Automatic Electric Milk Frother & Heater [ELECTRIC]

Quality

Price

Our Rating

The Epica Automatic Electric Milk Frother and Header is an Amazon best seller. This desktop milk frother allows you to froth both hot and cold milk automatically. This frother is a smaller machine so it can only whip up 4oz of milk a time, making it ideal for individual use.

Pros

  • Heats up milk quickly
  • High-quality stainless steel
  • Convenient & easy-to-use

Cons

  • Most expensive option
  • Only whips 4oz of milk at a time
  • Relatively difficult to clean

VonShef Premium Stainless Steel Milk Frother [ELECTRIC]

Quality

Price

Our Rating

The VonShef Electric Milk Frother is designed with the user in mind. It’s constructed with double layer stainless steel, which helps keep the milk warm and airy. The interior is coated with non-stick material, making it easier for you to clean and maintain.

It’s easy to use, and would work perfectly by just clicking the on-off switch.

Pros

  • Easy operations
  • Easy to clean
  • Relatively stylish

Cons

  • No temperature and texture controls
  • Low number of servings (1 to 2)

AeroLatte Milk Frother [IMMERSION]

Quality

Price

Our Rating

The AeroLatte Milk Frother is a hand-held, battery-operated whisk can froth all types of milk quickly and easily. The whisk can be easily cleaned by hand and is long enough to fit all types of pots and cups. The electric whisk guarantees frothy milk in 20 seconds or less.

Like the name suggests, the AeroLatte goes perfectly with the AeroPress, the immersion wand here fits perfectly in the AeroPress's main chamber.​

Pros

  • Small and convenient size
  • Froth milk in 20 sec or less
  • Easy-to-clean

Cons

  • Battery operated
  • Fragile components

Bodum Glass Handle Milk Frother [MANUAL]

Quality

Price

Our Rating

Bodum is a brand synonymous with coffee, they create reliable and easy to use coffee equipment and accessories. Their glass products are durable and easy to use.

Pros

  • Hold lots of milk (up to 8oz)
  • Microwave safe glass
  • Parts are dishwasher safe

Cons

  • Glass handle
  • Fragile and can break easily

Norpro Glass Frother Master [MANUAL]

Quality

Price

Our Rating

A killer deal, the Norpro Glass Frother Master allows you to froth up to 16 oz of milk. The glass is microwave safe, so you can easily heat your milk and then froth it relatively quickly with little fuss. The glass is thin so can break easily if not handled properly.

Pros

  • Microwave safe glass
  • Froth lots of milk (up to 16oz)
  • Easy-to-use

Cons

  • Requires external equipment for heating
  • Fragile

IKEA Milk Frother [IMMERSION]

Quality

Price

Our Rating

The IKEA Milk Frother is a basic battery-operated immersion steam wand. The frother is simple to use and very affordable.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Froth milk in under 20 sec
  • Portable

Cons

  • Feels cheap (plastic)
  • Wand can bend or break
  • Battery operated

Mr. Coffee Steam Espresso System With Milk Frother [ELECTRIC]

Quality

Price

Our Rating

Even if you don’t want espresso every day, sometimes it’s nice to have the option available. The Mr. Coffee Steam Espresso System is an affordable espresso machine includes a steam wand to help you steam and froth your milk with or without a nice shot of espresso.

Pros

  • Produces quality milk texture
  • Brews coffee as well
  • Affordable espresso machine

Cons

  • Takes time to warm up
  • Inconsistent steam pressure

The Coffee Barrister's Verdict

Instead of getting a milk-base coffee drink in a café, with a milk frother or steamer, you can now enjoy it in the comfort of your home.

When you’re looking for the best milk frother and steamer, it’s important to consider its cost, ease-of-use, ease-of-cleaning, and how much or little milk it can steam at once.

For the best taste, texture, and ease-of-use, I would recommend an electric milk frother like the VonShef Electric Milk Frother. This electric frother is a convenient way to heat and froth your milk to a smooth and sweet texture; perfect for your cappuccino, hot chocolate, or latte.

As for the best value, the Epica Automatic Milk Frother is ideal. Even though it’s a little more costly than other options, this machine can froth multiple servings to the perfect heat quickly and consistently. Also, being dishwasher safe, it’ll be easy for you to use and clean.

VonShef Electric Milk Frother

Epica Automatic Milk Frother

What's your favorite milk steamer?

Do you have a type of milk frother you prefer to use?

Let us know in the comments below.


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