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  • Be your own barista with a milk frother

    What is a Milk Frother?

    If you have ever been served a piping hot cappuccino or other fancy drink in a café, chances are it had a delicious layer of foam on the top. You can achieve the same experience at home with a milk frother. It aerates the milk to create the thick and flavourful foam that's perfect for mixing with espresso for drinks like cappuccinos, macchiatos, mochas, and lattes, or fancying up a regular cup of java, hot chocolate, or even iced beverage.

    There are three main types of milk frothers. A manual milk frother requires that you pump a plunger by hand to froth the milk in a jug or jar. A handheld electric milk frother works similarly to immersion blenders or egg beaters with a whisk-like apparatus on one end and a button on the other. You’ll get the best results by holding the frothing jug at an angle and moving the frother up and down for about 20 seconds until you see those delicious, frothy bubbles.

    Automatic milk frothers essentially do the work for you at the push of a button. Most of these can also warm up the milk if desired, and some come built into or bundled with premium espresso machines.

    Benefits of using a milk frother

    Milk frothers add another dimension to your coffee or coffee-based drink, providing a top layer of crema that adds texture and flavour. Not to mention it looks more professional, as though you’re drinking a cup right from a cafe. You can even get creative with milk frothers that have special spouts for making latte art.

    Most important, however, is that drinks like cappuccinos, lattes, and macchiatos require frothed milk for that authentic look and taste.

    If you only want to froth milk every now and then, like for guests, special occasions, or with Sunday dinners, a manual or handheld model might do the trick. But for frequent use, it's worth investing in an automatic frother that can also heat cold milk right from the fridge. You can then use it to heat milk for making hot cocoa as well. Some electric milk frothers can produce warm or cold foamed milk instead of hot if you prefer.

    What other features should I look for in a milk frother?

    Regardless of type, ensure the frother is easy to operate. A side handle is convenient for pouring but not necessary, especially if you plan to scoop the frothed milk for your drink. The smaller design of manual and/or handheld models will appeal to those who want to bring it with them.

    Other features to consider include quiet operation, size, auto shut-off and overheat protection. For those who are milk frothing connoisseurs, or who prefer their drinks lukewarm versus piping hot, models with variable temperature options beyond just hot and cold are worth looking into.

    Consider the capacity as well. Is it just for your morning beverage or after-dinner treat? Or will you be serving guests frequently? For added convenience, you can also find wireless milk frothers that are easy to take and use anywhere.

    If the manufacturer of your specific coffee machines, like Nespresso, Cuisinart, or Breville, makes their own milk frother, you might want to get one to match. Some coffee machines come bundled with milk frothers and some premium espresso machines have milk frother attachments that work right from the unit.

    Finally, the best milk frother will be easy to clean. If it has dishwasher-safe parts, even better.  It’s a good idea to clean the milk frother immediately after use to prevent milk residue from sticking to the surface. You can simply rinse the pieces in warm or hot water, and clean with mild dish soap. Use a tiny cleaning brush to periodically clean out tubes or small crevices that you can’t scrub. This will help keep the milk frother in tip-top condition.