Foamed or frothed milk is a crucial part of some espresso based drinks, such as lattes and cappuccinos, seeing how it is often the only other ingredient involved. While just about all coffee shops steam their milk using an espresso machine, there are a few ways to do it at home that can yield steamed milk just as good as an espresso machine.
As far as frothing milk on an espresso machine, there are two different styles of steam wands offered by manufactures. One being the standard manual steam wand that requires proper technique, and the other being known as a Pannarello wand, which will automatically aerate the milk to perfection, without any input from the user.
Using a traditional steam wand can take a while to perfect, and can add water into the milk, but the results are unlike anything else that is used to make foamy milk. To steam milk using a standard steam wand, insert the wand into the milk pitcher, and turn it on. Hold the steaming pitcher to where the wand is roughly a half inch deep inside, which should yield a sort of paper tearing sound; this is the actual aeration stage.
After around four seconds or so, it is fine to fully submerge the steam wand in the milk, and let it finish heating up. If the milk is not aerated enough, a loud screaming sound will be emitted from the pitcher. If this happens, simply aerate the milk for another second or so.
A Pannarello is an attachment that is put onto some steam wands, and is usually a small plastic tube shaped device that can come in different shapes and sizes.
With a Pannarello, water is also put into the milk, seeing how it is attached to the steam wand, but it is good for people who are just getting into making their own espresso based drinks, as it produces steamed milk that can be used as an example to shoot for.
To use a Pannarello, simply submerge it in the steaming pitcher with milk, and turn on the steam wand, and watch the magic. Remember to always clean the steam wand and Pannarello after use, to prevent clogs and buildup.
For people who love frothed milk in their coffee, but don’t want to spend the money for an espresso machine, there are some good alternatives on the market.
AeroLatte whisks to froth milk.
One of those devices is the AeroLatte, which is a sort of electric whisk. While I mention the AeroLatte, there are also a seemingly infinite amount of products that are exactly the same from different brands, but the AeroLatte is known as the original.
Some drawbacks of the AeroLatte product is that the milk must first be heated on the stove, or in a microwave, and it is easy to foam the milk too much, which can make it difficult to to make a non foam latte but this is ideal for micro foaming milk for Flat Whites or Revolutes.
On the plus side the product itself does not introduce any extra water into the milk, and it can reduce the risk of steam related burns, and they are also fairly inexpensive when compared to an espresso machine. To use one, pour the hot milk into a glass, and use the wand to aerate it, by inserting it into the milk, turning it on, and moving it vertically in the glass.
Frothing with a French Press
The last milk frothing product I will mention, is a French press. As odd as it sounds, it is very easily to make some decent foamed milk inside of a coffee brewer that a lot of people have already.
To use a French press in the manner, warm the desired amount of milk on the stove or microwave, just like with the AeroLatte, and then pour it into the press, and plunge up and down a handful of times until it is foamy enough for your coffee.
Don’t overfill it or you’ll end up with a milky mess everywhere.
Using a French press is likely the fastest way to foam milk, as the amount of air that is injected into the milk is unrivaled by other methods.