If you were asked to name your favorite beverage, is coffee the first one that comes to mind? Do you start every day with a piping cup of Joe? Do you consider it your comfort drink, the one that helps you to perk up midday and that constant you can always count on tasting great? Here in the United States alone, roughly 150 million adults consider themselves coffee drinkers, which is almost half of the entire population. But it doesn’t have to start and end with the standard cup of coffee, there are ways to dress it up and elevate the experience.
For those who have never enjoyed frothed creamer on their coffee, you are in for the next level of enjoyment. This is typically seen as a special treat that you only get when you purchase a coffee at a café or coffee house – not something you do at home. But that doesn’t have to be the case. You can learn how to froth coffee creamer at home and create the kind of specialty beverages you’d pay quite a few dollars for in the café.
Here are the equipment, ingredients, and steps you’ll need so you can froth coffee creamer at home just like the pros.
What Exactly Is Froth?
Before we look at how to create froth for your coffee at home, let's take a step back and define what "froth" is. If you have ever ordered a coffee in a cafe or coffee shop that had foam on top, a white fluffy topping, that is froth. Froth is milk that is light and airy and sits on the top of the coffee. Some people drink it just like that, while others may prefer to give it a couple of light stirs to mix it in. If left alone the froth will start to settle and mix on its own.
The froth is meant to give it a fancy look but it also adds to the taste of the coffee. It can be used on hot coffee, iced lattes, cold brew, and even on tea. It's quite versatile so once you master it don't feel you have to save it for your coffee only.
Is Frothed Milk the Same as Steamed Milk?
Maybe you’ve also heard of steamed milk and are wondering if it’s the same as frothed milk? While both are certainly milk, the process used is different. Frothed milk is made when you aerate the milk, which then creates all kinds of tiny air bubbles. This is what makes it light, airy, and puffy. Now if you do it properly and use a high-quality foam, that froth becomes denser giving it even more texture.
This kind of dense texture is most commonly used with a cappuccino. Did you know that froth makes up 1/3 of the entire cappuccino? So, if you want to start making these drinks at home, you need to master frothing.
Steamed milk is just as its name implies, it is hot - unlike frothed milk. When you steam milk, it naturally aerates it to a certain degree, but nowhere near what frothing does. Steamed milk almost has a heavy quality to it and it tends to be creamier. This type of milk is common in hot chocolate, mochas, and lattes. Typically, it is a fairly light layer that is added, and this is when a barista may make "art" on the top of the beverage.
What Tools/Ingredients Do You Need to Froth Milk at Home?
Now that you know the difference between frothed and steamed milk, it’s time to gather up the items you need to make it. For some people, it's as easy as using their high-end espresso machine that has a frothing function. But if that's not you and you need to make it by hand, not to worry as you've got a few options.
- Half and half cream
- Simple syrup or sugar (optional)
- Frothing "device"
That’s it, just those simple items and you’re on your way to frothing milk at home. So if you're wondered can you froth creamer, yes you can. It may be a little denser depending on the creamer as half and half tends to be the perfect level of fat.
What Is a Frothing Device?
Let’s now define what a frothing device is. This will be just as important as the creamer you use, as this device is what aerates the milk creating all those air bubbles. Keep in mind some of these “devices” will be easier and more effective to use than others. It will come down to how much you want to spend, how often you plan on frothing milk, the level of convenience and speed you’re looking for, and your taste preferences.
Here are the most common devices you can use:
- Handheld milk frother
- Glass jar with a tight-fitting lid (you will shake it to froth it)
- Handheld mixer
- Stick blender or immersion blender
- French press
As you can see by this list, some of the items are standard small appliances or tools you likely have in your kitchen already. You may not even need to run out and purchase anything. For those on a tight budget and who don’t have space for another kitchen tool, a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid will do the trick.
Another question people can have is can you use a milk frother for regular coffee, in other words, nothing fancy, just a regular cup of Joe. Again, the answer is yes. It's all about your preferences here and if you enjoy a thick layer of froth on your coffee in the morning, then that's what you do.
How to Froth the Milk
Now let’s look at how you froth the milk. No matter which method you use, you’ll want to heat the milk first. You can do this over the stove or in the microwave. The microwave will be much faster and easier, taking just a few seconds.
The most basic routine is to put heated milk in a glass jar, put the lid on tight, wrap a towel around it or wear oven mitts with grips and then start shaking. Typically it takes about 60 seconds to get it to the perfect consistency. You can then gently pour it onto the top of your coffee.
But what about how to make coffee mate creamer in a glass jar, this cream can be thick, so will it still work? Of course, it will, just be sure to heat it first and then start shaking. The more you use this method, the better you’ll get at gauging how long and vigorously you need to shake it.
Now if you want to make life easier and faster, then it’s best to use one of the other devices mentioned – all of which automate the process. Again, always start with heated milk and then whisk/blend until you get to the desired consistency which should be light and foamy. If you are choosing a speed on the device opt for medium. This will give you the most control and ensure you don't overmix the milk.
Why Not Flavor Your Frothed Milk
If you want to go all out and create that true café vibe at home, then you'll want to take things to the next level where the flavor is concerned. Adding flavor to your milk will enhance not just the froth but the beverage too. There are also toppings you can complete the drink with.
Some of the flavors you can add to the milk/cream include:
- Almond extract
- Vanilla extract
- Peppermint extract
- Flavored syrup
- Maple syrup
These are all light enough that they won't alter the consistency of the froth. They will be completely mixed in to ensure the flavor is evenly distributed. As the froth settles in the beverage, the flavor will then get mixed in. And these aren’t the only flavors you can add; you have full creative freedom here. You can experiment with a variety of options, creating your specialty drinks.
Don’t forget to also get creative with your toppings. You can use things like ground cinnamon, chocolate shavings, and even fine cookie crumbs – whatever you enjoy.
Venture Into the World of Lattes
Once you master the art of frothing milk for your coffee, you may want to step outside your comfort zone and look into making lattes at home. These are a more sophisticated drink and can be perfect for serving your guests while entertaining. Latte uses espresso or coffee, so you've got a lot of wiggle room here. You'll use a few ounces of milk to make the froth, which is likely much thicker than what you've been putting on your regular coffee.
There’s No Need to Head to the Coffee Shop
So, other than the atmosphere, there is no need to rush out to the coffee shop just to enjoy a coffee with a layer of froth on the top. Now that you have mastered the art at home, there is no stopping you and your flavor creations.