for latte art and hot chocolates

for latte art and hot chocolates

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  • The best milk frothers will add the professional, finishing touch to your coffees, and will save you time (and money!). No perfect coffee is ever complete without that fabulous, frothy foam top. The good news is, you can easily replicate your favourite, shop-bought hot drinks in the comfort of your home. 

    See the best coffee machines for in-built frothers

    Traditionally, baristas use a steam nozzle to blast steam into a milk jug that both froths and heats the milk to give that fuller texture. The best milk frothers on the other hand, work by spinning the milk quickly with a coiled whisk to add air to the milk. This aeration is what creates those luscious bubbles, giving our hot drinks a smooth and silky texture. Whether you enjoy lattes, cappuccino’s or hot chocolates, a great milk frother will whip up your favourite drink at just a touch of a button.

    The two main types are the handheld and electric (jug) frothers. The handheld ones are battery-operated devices used directly in a mug or jug, and are compact and affordable. While the more expensive, electric milk frothers have an induction whisk that quickly heats and creates much better quality frothed milk. 

    From frothing cold or hot milk, to simply warming milk for tasty hot chocolates, we tested the top milk frothers to cater to all your hot drinks needs.

    Why do I need a milk frother?

    Melitta Cremio II Automatic milk frother

    If you’ve ever wondered why your takeaway coffee tastes so much better with the silky foam top, the secret is simply in the froth!  Frothy milk creates a lighter texture, that keeps the coffee flavour as close to the original taste as possible. This also helps the milk warm up to ensure your delicious coffee keeps its temperature. Whether you want cold or hot frothed milk, the best milk frother makes it simple to replicate specialty drinks. What’s more, you can impress your guests with barista-style coffees!

    How much should I spend on a milk frother?

    Compared to the best coffee machines, milk frothers are relatively affordable to suit every budget. Automatic milk frothers start from as little as £20 to a whopping £150 for a top brand like Smeg. However, this will depend on the specifications and how often you’re likely to use it. If you’re a true coffee fan though, it’s worth investing in a quality model that will last long. 

    Best milk frothers 2021

    1. SMEG 50’S Retro MFF01 Milk Frother

    Best milk frother overall

     

    Type: Electric
    Max capacity: 500ml, frothing capacity: 250ml
    Reasons to buy: Attractive retro design, large capacity, six preset programs
    Reasons to avoid: Expensive, it’s large so you’ll need counter space

    Smeg is known for its high-end products and of course, attractive 50s retro design. And their milk frother instantly adds classic style and character to any kitchen. Firstly, it comes with a large stainless steel removable jug, ergonomic steel handle, and Tritan lid with measuring cup. Once powered on, the lights illuminate and you’ll be spoilt for choice with six preset programs to choose from. These include cold milk with thick froth or light froth, hot chocolate, or a milk warming setting. There’s even a manual function allowing you to switch between whisk speed and temperature, which is handy if you have a family with different preferences. The frother automatically switches off once the program has finished so you don’t have to monitor it. 

    Equipped with powerful induction heating, it quickly produces a dense and frothy foam that is not too dissimilar to the barista, coffee-shop cappuccinos. In fact, hot chocolate fans (like me!) will be impressed with the chocolate setting, as it creates a thick and velvety texture. 

    Compared to other milk frothers, it’s rather big and cumbersome, with a grand capacity to prep 250ml of frothed milk at once. Making it ideal for large families or anyone who simply has a lot of coffee and tea breaks during the day! Best of all, it’s easy to clean, and also comes in a variety of eye-catching colours to suit your kitchen style.  

    Despite its premium price, this attractive frother makes a worthwhile investment for serious coffee lovers. 

    Ideal Home’s rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    2. illycaffe 20709 Milk Frother

    Best compact milk frother 

    Type: Electric Induction
    Max capacity: 500ml, frothing capacity: 250ml
    Reasons to buy: 100% stainless steel, easy-to-pour jug, easy to clean, simple buttons
    Reasons to avoid: No option to adjust temperatures

    If you’re after a small yet stylish milk frother, this illy Electric Milk Frother is perfect. Its contemporary brushed, stainless steel jug, buttons and chunky base looks great in any kitchen. 

    And for those who want a ‘no-fuss’ machine, the illy milk frother is easy to operate with a simple one-touch design. It comes with three buttons – cold milk froth, hot milk froth and milk heater – and the best part is, you can add your chocolate flakes directly to the jug for tasty hot chocolate.  

    It’s an impressive little frother thanks to the fast induction heat that quickly whips up light frothed foam, perfect for lattes and cappuccinos. In addition, the stainless steel jug is very sturdy, and has an easy-to-pour spout to avoid messy spills. Once the jug is off the base, the illuminated buttons conveniently flash to alert you that it’s still on.

    Perhaps the only downside is it only has one preset temperature, which may not necessarily be hot enough for some. However, this can be overlooked by the professional results and its sleek, modern design.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

    3. Lakeland Milk Frother and Hot Chocolate Maker

    Best milk frother for hot chocolate

    Lakeland Milk Frother and Hot Chocolate Maker

    Type: Electric
    Max capacity: 250ml frothing capacity: 125ml
    Reasons to buy: Simple touch panel, auto shut-off
    Reasons to avoid: Not dishwasher safe

    If you enjoy café style hot chocolates, this Lakeland milk frother is a great option. Designed to versatile, the attractive jug sits on a base with a one-touch, LED control panel. It has three options of hot milk, frothy milk, as well as a cold milk froth, allowing you to make iced coffees, milkshakes and smoothies. A convenient feature is the different temperature times – it makes cold froth in 2 minutes, and hot froth in just 90 seconds. 

    Perhaps the stand-out feature is the hot milk setting. Simply add chocolate flakes to the milk and results are creamy, frothy hot chocolate in no time. What’s more, cleaning is a breeze!

    Overall, this produces impressive lattes and cappuccinos, making it excellent value for money.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    4. AdHoc Rapido Automatic Milk Frother

    Best handheld milk frother

    Type: Handheld
    Reasons to buy: Powerful whisk, versatile use, attractive steel design
    Reasons to avoid: No timer, a little pricey

    If you don’t have sufficient space for an electric machine to whisk up some frothy foam, this handheld Rapido Automatic Milk Frother gets the job done well. 

    Battery-powered by 3 AAA batteries, it has a powerful engine (10.000r a min) to whisk up an impressive froth in just seconds. Simply press the button at the top, and the AdHoc Rapido Automatic Milk Frother will do all the hard work. Unlike other handheld milk frothers, this model has steady movement, giving you more control over the foam texture, so you won’t have messy splashes everywhere!

    What’s more, it can do a lot more than just froth up delicious hot drinks. This handy little frother can be used to froth soups and sauces to preparing milkshakes and cocktails.

    In addition, its stainless steel cover gives it a modern look and it’s compact enough to fit into any drawer (or travel bag!).  

    The price tag may put some people off, but this is a top quality handheld milk frother that is durable, versatile and will last long.  

    Ideal Home’s rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    5. Melitta Cremio II

    Best milk frother for lattes

    Type: Electric
    Max capacity: 250 ml, frothing capacity: 150ml
    Reasons to buy: Illuminated control buttons, easy to clean, non-stick coating
    Reasons to avoid: Cannot take lid off during frothing process, no auto shut-off

    Melitta is a leading brand in the Italian coffee-making world, and the Cremio Milk Frother certainly doesn’t disappoint. Designed in a stylish, stainless steel exterior, it also comes in black to suit your style. It’s sturdy with an easy-to-lift lid which is also attached to the whisking rod. You can also handle the outside of the frother during use without burning your fingers!

    The illuminated touch buttons are user-friendly and lets you know what each setting means. A red light signals when it’s on and ready to prepare warm frothed milk, while the blue light indicates cold frothed milk. The second button is to heat milk which is perfect for those frothy, hot chocolate beverages. Perhaps the only thing it could benefit from is an auto shut-off after each setting, but this isn’t a major deal-breaker.  True to its name, the impressive results produced creamy, frothy foam, perfect for milky lattes. 

    It’s worth noting that since the lid is attached to the whisk rod, resting it down on a counter may result in messy drips. In addition, this also prevents you from taking off the lid to monitor the frothing process. However, given the overall quality of the frother and excellent frothing results, this can easily be overlooked.  

    Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    How to buy the best milk frother

    best milk frother

    How much milk do you want to froth?

    Size matters, and depending on how much hot drinks you actually drink, find a frother with a suitable capacity for your needs. If it’s just one cup or shorter coffees then a smaller capacity would be sufficient, but making two or more drinks at a time would need something larger. 

    See also: the best pod coffee machines 

    What features do you need?

    Milk frothers come with a range of options and settings to easily make your favourite drinks. These often include cold froth, hot milk and hot froth, while some models allow you to add chocolate or coffee granules to the milk while frothing. Does it have different timers? Or auto stop? Some electric milk frothers have adjustable temperature control which are handy, while others have only one setting which may not be hot enough. You should also consider ease of use, is it dishwasher-safe or does it have removable parts for easy maintenance. 

    Take a look at the best bean-to-cup coffee machines

    Can you use non-dairy milk?

    Those who are lactose-intolerant can still enjoy milk frothers. Different types of milk and non-dairy options such as soy, almond, coconut and oat milk all taste just as great! Bear in mind though, the consistency and foam texture will depend on the density of non-dairy milk you use. But with a quality milk frother, you should still achieve that silky foam top.


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