Foaming milk – the simplest techniques in the test

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Cappuccino, latte macchiato or chai latte – all popular coffee drinks. They have one more thing in common: all these coffee preparations are largely made of milk, or more precisely, foamed milk. Hardly surprising, perfect milk foam tops (almost) every coffee specialty.

However, the production of milk foam is not a simple process. If you want to froth your own milk, you can do it in several ways. There are countless methods and devices to prepare the optimal milk foam yourself. But what really matters when foaming milk?? What are the best techniques for making good milk foam quickly and easily?? We have tested the most important techniques and devices for you and compiled all the important tips for frothing at home.

Making milk foam – which milk is best for making milk foam??

Frothing milk, frothing milk, pouring milk foam

Fresh whole milk

To prepare the best possible milk foam, we recommend fresh whole milk with a fat content of 3.5 – 3.8% and, if possible, a high protein or fat content. Use a protein content of at least 3.3%. A high protein content and a high fat content ensure that the milk is easy to froth and that the frothy result is creamy and stable. Fat is also a flavor carrier. A high fat content ensures that your foam crown really tastes good in the end!

good to know: calorie-wise it makes hardly any difference whether you take milk with 1.5% or 3.5% fat content. For a cup of cappuccino the difference is only about 20 calories. For this you need z.B. Just take the stairs once more. In just 2 minutes of climbing the stairs, you’ve burned off the calories and enjoy a much better cup of coffee!

Apart from the freshness of the milk and its protein and fat content, it also depends on the right temperature of the milk. When milk is heated, the bond between fats and proteins loosens. Air gets into the foam. This is encased in protein molecules and can therefore no longer escape. A structure of small air and milk bubbles is formed. It is easiest to foam the milk when it is approx. has 60 degrees celsius – that is hand warm. The best way to do this is to heat it in a pot on the stove.

Important tip beforehand: the milk should not be much hotter than 60 degrees celsius, otherwise the milk protein begins to flocculate and the milk becomes bitter.

The most important in a nutshell – requirements for the best milk foam with cow’s milk:

  1. Fresh whole milk
  2. High fat content: 3.5 – 3.8%
  3. High protein content: mind. 3.3 % (if possible)
  4. Hand-warm milk: approx. 60° celsius

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Vegetable alternatives

The plant-based alternatives have a lower protein and fat content, but even vegan coffee fans do not have to forego the frothy treat! The choice of vegetable drinks, from soy to spelt to hazelnut drink, is large and tastes differ, as we all know. Since also among us earlybirds are fans of herbal alternatives, we have tested diligently. Here are 6 vegetable alternatives to whole cow’s milk, which you can use to prepare your coffee specialties in an uncomplicated and delicious vegan way.

How to froth milk correctly – what is the perfect frothing result??

Milk foam is the subject of many myths and discussions – especially when it comes to the result. The first choice of the baristas is creamy foam (so-called microfoam), because with it you can conjure up excellent latte art results. Others again praise the foam with very firm consistency. So what you can call "real" milk foam is up to each and every one of us. Like everything else: milk foam is a matter of taste.

Froth milk, milk foam, milk foam on spoon

Foaming milk: how to do it?

If you don’t have a fully automatic machine or a portafilter, then the most popular method of frothing milk is probably to use a battery-powered milk frother. It is small, handy and ready to use anywhere at once. Another advantage: the handling is super easy.

Battery-powered milk frothers – the earlybird coffee check

The main component of the battery-powered milk frother is the rotating spiral (the so-called whisk). As soon as the batteries are inserted, you are ready to go. Hold the spiral into the warm milk, press the "on" button and start frothing. The time it takes to get a frothy result varies depending on the model – usually just a few seconds are enough.

The battery operated milk frothers are available from many different brands and are available at a low price. We have tested two models in different price ranges for you. Watch the video of the duel fackelmann vs. Cilio and our conclusion to.

What other techniques are there for optimal milk foam??

#1 milk frothing with steam nozzle

You have a fully automatic coffee machine or even a portafilter machine? Then you are not far away from your dream frothy crown! With the help of the steam function and a lot of practice, you can create optimal milk foam. And it’s called microfoam – the favorite of real baristas.

Microfoam is actually not a foam at all, but rather a cream. To produce microfoam, milk is poured to just below the spout of a suitable jug. When frothing milk with steam nozzle, the milk should be exceptionally refrigerator cold. It does not need to be heated beforehand. In a first phase ("drawing phase"), air is supplied with the steam nozzle. In a second phase ("rolling phase"), this supplied air is swirled and the air bubbles in the milk become ever smaller and finer. During this process, it is very important to pay attention to the temperature, which rises steadily. Because caution: the milk should not be hotter than approx. 60 degrees celsius, otherwise the protein begins to flocculate and a bitter taste is produced.

Milk foam from steam nozzle

#2 milk frothing with electric milk frother

Preparation with an electric milk frother is very convenient and milk for several cups can be froth directly at the touch of a button. With the electric milk frother, the milk is heated and foamed in the machine at the same time. Simply pour in the cold milk according to the minimum-maximum markings, turn on the machine and wait a short time. Ready.

The downside: this convenience comes at a price. But: in contrast to the battery-operated milk frother, no batteries are needed that have to be replaced. Only the cleaning of the device afterwards is not always so simple. It depends on the model. If you want to buy an electric milk frother, make sure you know how to clean it when you buy it.

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#3 frothing milk with a hand milk frother (creamer)

Preparing milk with a hand milk frother requires some physical effort. With practiced handling and the right model, a super foam result can also be achieved here. The hand milk frother consists of two components: a heat-resistant container and a lid with an integrated sieve bar.

Milk frothing earlybird

First put the previously heated milk into the container. To estimate the right amount, most hand frothers have a minimum-maximum mark to guide you. Usually you can also put the milk directly in the container on the stove to heat it up to the desired 60° celsius. Our tip: with a finger test – hold your finger briefly in the milk – you can check whether it has the right temperature and is warm to the touch. Afterwards you close the container with the lid and move the sieve stick up and down vigorously. How air gets into the milk. After some time, the resistance becomes stronger and the milk firmer. Leave the milk still approx. let it rest in the container for 30 seconds with the lid closed – then you can enjoy your homemade milk foam with coffee!

Milk foam without a special frother?

No problem! milk can be foamed even without special equipment and with very simple means. For example, you can take a whisk between your two palms and quickly rub the whisk between the palms of your hands. Admittedly, this procedure is rather strenuous and may not be the optimal solution for someone who wants to froth milk on a regular basis. But for "occasional foamers" it is a simple, sustainable alternative.

Another possibility is to put the milk, heated to 60 degrees celsius, into a screw-top glass, close it tightly and shake it until the desired milk foam is created.

The most important criteria you should consider when buying a milk frother:

  1. Quality of the milk foam
  2. Handling
  3. Preparation time
  4. Cleaning
  5. Price-performance ratio

We have tested 3 different milk frothing techniques for you and evaluated the models according to the above criteria. Watch the video of the great earlybird coffee frothing duel and our winner! The requirements are of course individual and different from coffee lover:in to coffee lover:in. Depending on what is important to you, one or the other technology is better suited for you. Please let us know in a comment which model you prefer to whip your milk into foam 😉 we are looking forward to it!

Perfect milk foam kisses coffee from high-quality beans best

For the best taste experience of your coffee drink, optimal milk foam alone is not enough. The choice of your coffee beans is also important. At earlybird coffee, we stand for artisan-roasted coffee beans – all organic, fair trade and climate-neutral. You will taste the difference in every single cup of coffee!

Desire for latte macchiato or cappuccino?

We’ll show you how to make delicious latte macchiato or your favorite cappuccino at home from your homemade milk foam in simple, quick instructions.

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