Milk Frothing: How To Froth Milk At Home

How To Froth Milk At Home

Photo Source: Naotake Murayama via Flickr via CC BY-ND 2.0

Now that you’ve bought your own espresso maker, it’s time you learn on how to make Barista-level cappuccinos and lattes like they do at your local coffee shop. Nowadays, making the perfect cup is more of an art. So exactly how to those coffee experts achieve such levels of perfection? Well, one of the most important steps when making a rich and creamy cappuccino is knowing how to froth the milk. When done correctly, frothed milk contains microfoam which is rich, creamy and soft. Below I’ve outlined the procedure to have you on your way to making frothy drinks that will leave your friends puzzled and speechless.

What You Need to Know

Before we begin, a couple of basics to help you on your journey
• Non-fat or skimmed milk will easily produce the largest foam and thus is the easiest to froth. Despite this, due to lack of fat, the froth produced it light and not as rich in taste as that made from whole milk. It is highly recommended for beginners.
• Organic milk, lactose free milk and soy milk do not froth as well as other milk types. This is because of the difference in the pasteurization process.
• Fresh cold milk is key to a good froth. Make sure you use milk that’s not over 5 days old.
• The optimum temperature for frothing is about 150-155°F. Milk proteins are broken down at about 170°F.


Like any other form of art, we require a set of tools. Luckily, if you are reading this, then you most certainly have most of them.
• A good espresso maker with a steam wand. Take your time in choosing the right one. Read reviews and make your own opinion.
• Fresh whole cold milk. Beginners are advised to use skimmed milk. If possible, use milk directly from refrigerator.
• A stainless steel frothing pitcher at least 14 ounces. Most espresso makers will come with one but in case it didn’t, you can buy one online.
• Thermometer.


1. First we start off by heating up our espresso maker. Let it heat up till you start seeing steam and water sprouting off the end of the steam wand. Once you are sure all the water has dried up, we are ready for the next step.
2. Remove your fresh milk from your refrigerator and pour it into the frothing pitcher. Make sure you don’t pour more than a 1/3 in the pitcher. This is to leave room for milk to rise without spilling. Slowly insert or clip if possible your thermometer to the pitcher.
3. Immerse the steam wand into your milk all the way up to almost the bottom of the pitcher. Hold it in place until you start seeing bubbles and foam rising.
4. Mark the height from where the bubbles seem to be coming from and slowly move the pitcher downward towards the marked position.
5. Adjust the height by moving the pitcher a few centimeters upwards or downwards carefully noting the sounds made at each location. Find the position with a deep and silent noise. Hold it in place there. By now, the thermometer should be reading around 100°F.
6. As temperature continues to rise, be sure to never break the milk surface with your wand. As milk continues to rise, carefully move the pitcher downwards maintaining the silent and deep noise as frothing continues.
7. As temperature reaches 130°F, lower the steaming wand halfway into the milk and hold it in place until the thermometer reads 155°F. You can now safely remove your wand from the pitcher.

Now that you’ve successfully finished, you should be left with a silky smooth creamy froth that doesn’t require a spoon when pouring. In case yours doesn’t need a spoon, then you’ve successfully created a perfect froth. Don’t despair if you didn’t get it right the first time, it takes a lot of practice and not many people do get it perfect in their first try.