As any coffee lover knows, a good cappuccino or latte is most often made with whole milk. At least, that’s the going recipe in most coffee houses even though some will use 2% milk. The reason for preferring whole milk is that it does tend to froth better and that’s one of the important ingredients in either beverage. While cappuccino has more froth than a latte, both are similar in that the base is espresso but it’s the layering vs. mixing that distinguishes the two. If you are one who prefers a bit more froth you may be asking can you froth half and half. The answer to that is a resounding yes! Of course you can, if you are in the mood for a richer, creamier drink. You can do so much when you froth half and half and the secret is, you need to start with a frother.
What Is a Frother?
If you are new to the world of coffee drinks, you may be asking what’s a frother? Actually, there are several kinds of frothers on the market today. Some come as a feature on an espresso machine and others are sold individually as a frother. These can be used for more than just coffee drinks, however, as you can even make traditional whipped cream with a standalone frother. These are preferred by many people because you can froth either cold or steamed milk as well as half and half or heavy whipping cream. They are amazing gadgets and one every household should have. After all, if you want a coffee froth and you only have a coffee maker, you can froth the milk or half and half and top your cup with a delectable foam.
Various Options in Frothers
While many of the leading espresso machines on the market have the attached steamer and frother, you can find a variety of standalone frothers. Some are handheld frothers and others are electric frothers that actually do the work for you. These would tend to cost a bit more, obviously, but if you are busy with several tasks at once, they can save you time and energy. The best frother for a beginner might be a handheld frother simply because they are convenient and easy to care for. These are battery powered and have a long metal piece with a cylindrical end that you simply insert into the milk, half and half, or cream you want to froth.
When you want to know how to froth half and half easily, this is how you do it. After a few tries, you’ll have the smoothest, frothiest half and half imaginable just like an expert barista! It will also take a bit of practice if you want to know how to froth milk with a frother, but after just a couple tries, you’ll have it down as well. One secret many baristas recommend is to tilt the cup slightly and move it around a tiny bit in a circular motion as the frother does its work.
Cappuccino vs. Latte
Now for the information you’ve all been waiting for. What is the difference between cappuccino and latte? Unfortunately, unless you have bought a cup of both from a professional barista, you may not know that there is a real, identifiable, difference. Traditionally, cappuccino is equal parts coffee, steamed milk and froth. A latte on the other hand is half milk and half coffee. As for the ‘milk’ in both drinks, you can use 2%, the traditional whole milk, or even half and half.
The difference here is obviously the creaminess of the beverage. Also, a cappuccino has a flavor more on the coffee side because most cappuccino beverages start with a double shot of espresso and will have a lot more froth. With a latte having more milk, the beverage is smoother and lighter on the coffee flavor. These are the basics if you want to understand the difference between cappuccino and latte.
Perfecting the Art of Frothing
If you are weighing in on the side of a traditional cappuccino, you might want to know what milk froths best. Remember, cappuccino is one-third froth, so it is an important ingredient if you want a true cappuccino drink. Therefore, you may want to try frothing half and half for a creamier, frothier result. But it is also important to keep in mind that a true cappuccino is heavier on the coffee flavor so you might want to either reduce the amount of half and half you use or add an extra bit of espresso. Also, you might prefer a latte if you want espresso with half and half because as you will remember, lattes are a lighter espresso to milk ratio and thus a smoother drink. Or, looking back at the difference between espresso and cappuccino, espressos are half espresso half milk whereas a latte is one-third espresso with two-thirds milk and just a bit of foam.
Various Ways to Make Coffee Foam
There is another secret that even many coffee aficionados don’t know! Did you know that a dark roast coffee has less caffeine than a light or blonde roast? It really doesn’t matter as much about the bean being used as the roast. It stands to reason because the beans for light roast coffee remain smaller when in less contact with the heat and therefore retain more caffeine.
At this point you may be wondering why anyone would want to use coffee instead of espresso and that, in a nutshell, is the key. If you are going out for your morning Joe and want that extra bit of punch caffeine provides to get your day going, you’ll want a blonde roast coffee for sure. So now you might be asking how to make coffee foam and the answer is quite simple. You will make the froth in the very same way as you would for a traditional espresso, but you will start with a coffee base. It’s a lighter roast bean with more caffeine but it makes a lovely morning alternative. Or you may want to do a latte with a ratio of half coffee half milk which would increase the amount of espresso in the beverage.
More Tips for That In-House Morning Joe
Some people just can’t seem to get up and out of the house without their first cup of coffee, but they are literally salivating for that latte they get at the corner drive-thru coffee truck. There’s an easy solution for that as well. Remember that handheld frother we mentioned above? Just start the coffee maker and reach for cold milk or half and half out of the refrigerator while your coffee is brewing. You may be asking can you froth cold milk and the answer, again, is yes.
Since you want a cup of coffee heavier on the caffeine, use light roast beans and a latte froth. You will also remember that the latte froth is lesser than the espresso froth which is one-third the total. Now there is no more wondering how to make coffee frothy because it’s all about having a milk frother gadget at hand. Steamed or cold, it doesn’t matter. It’s all about your preferences and whether you are ready to take those extra few moments to steam the milk first. When it’s a cold froth you want, a handheld frother really is all you need.
Espresso, Latte and So Much More
Now that you have the basics down of how to froth milk, half and half, or heavy whipping cream, it’s time to explore other neat little tricks you can do with that frother. The first thing many people do with it is keep it on hand for those times when a bit of whipped cream is called for either in a recipe or as a nice topping for a beverage or dessert. Quite often this is because they want real cream topping and not all those soy-based alternatives you find in spray cans.
Also, the gasses that are used can be less than healthy, so real whipped cream is the best alternative. Simply get out your heavy cream, use the frother, and within moments you have the most amazing whipped cream imaginable. You can add the vanilla and sugar at the very end but whether you add it while frothing or after, the result will be the same.
A Final Note on Frothers
The final thing to keep in mind when you want to create your own lattes or cappuccinos at home is the cost involved. Many consumers simply don’t have the budget to buy an espresso machine with a frother because a good quality machine can run hundreds of dollars whereas a frother is less than $100 and a handheld frother is most often less than $50.
There is no reason to deny yourself the thrill of creating your own lattes, flavored or original, if you have a frother on hand. Whenever you get an urge for that beverage to end all beverages, you’ll be good to go. And, that’s the final word.