latte art frother

The 5 best milk frothers & steamers for coffee

With a milk frother, you can easily create Instagram-worthy lattes from your home. Check out some of the best models right here.

Let’s face it – most people love a luscious latte.

And even though I drink black coffee most of the day, I’m not gonna say no to that perfectly pulled cappuccino with adorned with tulips, unicorns or whatever the latest latte fashion dictates.

Contrary to what a certain chain with a mermaid sign would have you believe, it’s actually quite easy to create these foamy, milky drinks at home.

In this article, I’m gonna take a close look at how to make the perfect latte and which equipment you’ll need.

My top pick:

Breville BMF600XL...
The Breville BMF600XL is the Rolls Royce of frothing devices. It will almost instantly transform you from a regular Joe Six-pack into a latte art making barista.

The only downside is that it’s not the cheapest model around.
Total Rating
  • Performance
  • Price
  • Ease of Use
4.6

what kind of milk frother should you get?

Cappuccinos and lattes are essentially the same drink, espresso mixed with steamed milk. The difference between them lies in the layer of milky froth topping them, with cappuccinos having a thicker layer that supports things like designs of hearts or puppies.

At first glance, you’d be forgiven for thinking that a three-dollar frothing wand is all you need; it’s cheap, easy and gets the job done, right?

Here’s where “yes, but” comes in – the wand will indeed whip air into the milk, but the resulting foam is going to be pretty weak and insubstantial.

You also still need to heat the milk, which means dirtying a pan and having more things to clean. I don’t know about you, but the fewer dishes I have to do at a time, the better.

Fortunately for me and all other lazy people, devices that both steam and froth the milk are available.

A frother and the options are endless…

Breville BMF600XL...

The best milk frothers & steamers will not only help you make cappuccinos and lattes that look impressive and taste awesome but also let you provide your non-coffee drinker friends (yes, they exist) with their own delicious concoctions.

  • Hot chocolate is the most common beverage to benefit from a good steamer, but chai also comes out great.
  • For vegans or those who avoid dairy, a good frother can produce social media-worthy foam from nut, soy, or other plant-based kinds of milk.

Latte art 101

When it comes to making milk-based drinks, all-round coffee guru & former World Barista Champion James Hoffmann offers some solid advice in book ‘The World Atlas of Coffee”. Here are his rules for making a delicious cappuccino:

  1. Always use fresh milk. As milk gets closer to the use-be date it’ll be increasingly difficult to manipulate in the pitcher. Even though it might still taste if it won’t have the right texture.
  2. Don’t overheat the milk – just warm it. Milk starts changing the flavor at 154°F(68°C) because proteins get denatured. To be honest the flavor is a bit queasy. Also, it gets increasingly difficult to make good microfoam after a certain point.
  3. Preheat the mug. If you want the drink to be hot, it’s better to preheat the mug and go easy on the milk instead

features to look for?

As with any kitchen tool, a steamer should be fast, efficient, and uncomplicated. Even if the resulting cappuccinos are beautiful enough to make the angels weep with joy, fussing with unwieldy equipment and settings in order to achieve coffee perfection can be far from a joyful experience.

Of course, the price comes into consideration as well. The cool-looking bells and whistles on “professional grade” machines in the gourmet kitchen catalogs can cost some serious bucks, and that cost is no guarantee that your drinks will be the best.

Read More: The Best Coffee Canisters

You can never go wrong with simple and straightforward, and quality steamers should be able to turn out drinks that are almost as good as the ones coming from the metal behemoth at your local coffee house at a fraction of its price. This comes with the added bonus of them not hogging precious countertop real estate.

If you’re a serious home entertainer – or just like to treat yourself – investing in a good frother/steamer is going to immediately up your hot beverage-making game.

The number of steamers available, though, can be a bit daunting. While only you know what features you want, I’ve put together a list of the top five devices that can cover pretty much everything you’ll require to guide you on your way to being your own best source of snazzy coffees. Let’s unleash your inner latte artist!

The 5 best milk frothers & steamers for coffee in 2018

BREVILLE BMF600XL

Breville BMF600XL...

Many good things come from Australia – koalas, kangaroos and Kylie Minogue come to mind.

For kitchen gadget freaks, though, our favorite thing from down under” is Breville, so it only stands to reason that if you’re looking for a top-of-the-line frother/steamer/”wow, this does EVERYTHING” machine you need to check this out.

The Breville BMF600XL has a three cup capacity, making it an instant go-to for entertaining.

Interchangeable disks let you control the foam density, and its adjustable heating element brings your milk to the perfect temperature.

Those who use alternate kinds of milk will be delighted with how the Milk Cafe can foam even the thinnest plant milk.

Not into coffee? The Milk Cafe is going to become your hot drinks champion since you can add your chocolate, tea leaves or butterscotch (remember, hot butterbeer) directly to the milk while heating. Best of all, the canister and parts are dishwasher-safe.

Sure, the personal touch is always nice, but if you’re looking to wow a crowd into skipping the mermaid and the arches with your mad coffee skillz, Breville’s your best mate.

Pros

  • Control the foam density
  • Adjustable heat
  • Can foam ‘vegan’ milk too.
  • Easy to clean. All parts can go to the dishwasher. 
See more reviews

Nespresso Aeroccino3 Milk Frother

Nestle Nespresso...

Some say Nespresso is Italian for “expensive Keurig,” but its many devotees swear by its coffee makers, so it stands to reason that it would offer a pretty nifty frother/steamer too.

It kind of resembles a super-high-tech Thermos with its black body and stainless steel steel trim and, in keeping with Nespresso’s original machine, is best suited for a single serving of your preferred beverage.

Like the Secura, it offers separate frothing and heating at the touch (or hold) of a button, although there might be some effort involved in getting something like rice milk to foam nicely. If the thought of another bad cup of office coffee repels you, the Aeroccino3 along with one of Nespresso’s stylish espresso machines can let you create your own personal coffee bar right at your desk.

With its quiet operation and easy-to-clean nonstick interior, your venti vanilla latte can now come from home and not from a drive-thru line.

If you’re the name-dropping type? George Clooney endorses this. Hey, some people are into that.

Pros

  • Looks pretty damn cool… 
  • Separate heating and frothing
  • Non-stick
  • Very quick – foamed milk in about 2 minutes.
See more reviews

Secura Automatic Electric Milk Frother

Secura Automatic...

Wisconsin-based Secura specializes in sleek, stylish appliances, and its electric frother/warmer is no exception to this rule, but behind its pretty facade is a sturdy, efficient machine.

Want a traditional cappuccino? Press the button once and the heating and whisking begin.

In the mood for an iced latte? Press the button for three seconds, which will turn on the frother but not the heating element.

It must be noted, however, that this has a pretty small capacity. It allows only a little over half a cup for just frothing and double that for steaming, so this is definitely not the coffee machine for group entertaining.

While it can froth regular milk well, it must be noted that a little more work is needed to get similar results from alternative kinds of milk.

If you only make drinks for one or two on a regular basis or like smaller, more traditional cappuccinos, the Secura is a decent choice and will look most elegant on your counter.

Pros

  • American brand
  • Sturdy and reliable
  • Easy to clean. Just do it right away after use, so the milk doesn’t stick
  • Good price
See more reviews

Cafe casa Electric Milk Frother

Frothy Hand Mixer...

Some people like to make their coffee drinks the old-fashioned way–brew the espresso here, steam the milk there, and get out the frother when everything’s ready to go.

If you look at the Unicoff Electric Milk Frother and say to yourself “hey, that looks a lot like an immersion blender,” you’re right.

Although it’s described as a frother, Unicoff also claims that it can make everything from macchiatos to milkshakes to meringues … just like an immersion blender.

You also might notice that there’s no cord, because this frother runs on two AA batteries. It’s been my experience that any battery-powered appliance is not nearly as strong as its traditionally powered counterparts, but devotees of this device swear by its foaming power even as those who use plant milks might beg to differ.

If your favorite coffee drink doesn’t require a lot of milk and you don’t like single-purpose appliances, the multi-tasking Unicoff Electric Milk Frother might be just what you’re looking for.

Pros

  • Makes great foam with regular milk.
  • Very portable – bring it to work or on a trip. 
  • Beautiful brushed stainless steel look
  • Pretty cheap
See more reviews

UNICOFF Milk Frother

Milk Frother -...

Stop me if you’ve read this before:

It’s a frother! It’s a mixer! It whips cream! It blends perfect protein drinks! It makes lump-free baby formula! It runs on AA batteries! Flawless meringues! Best cappuccinos ever! Take your chances with almond and hemp milks! 

So how does the Casa Cafe Milk Frother compare to the Unicoff version? It offers two speeds–I’m assuming fast and really fast–and it has a vaguely cool stainless steel body that looks like something Rosie the robot maid might use in the Jetsons’ kitchen.

If you’re in the market for a multipurpose frother/blender specifically equipped with a frothing wand, it’s probably going to boil down to which one is more aesthetically pleasing to you, so those of you into retro stuff will enjoy having this tool in their culinary kit.

Both this and the Unicoff frother are also good choices for travelers. Frothy coffee drinks made over an open campfire? I could be down with that.

Pros

  • The cheapest product in this round-up! 
  • Portable – great for traveling
  • Very fast. Once the milk is hot, this little frother makes foam in 10 seconds or less
See more reviews

 

 

Featured Image Source: Kate Fisher – Flickr CC
about the author

about the author

Hey, I'm Asser Christensen from Denmark – the founder & editor of this site.

I have been crazy about caffeine for almost as long as I can remember. Today, I'm a licensed Q Arabica Grader and full time coffee writer.

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