As people become more conscious of their budget and expenditures, products like specialty coffees are often on the cutting block. These drinks may seem like unnecessary frivolities for some, but morning java is essential for many individuals. Furthermore, it is possible to enjoy specialty drinks at home for a fraction of the cost with a standalone milk steamer.
Knowing the difference between a milk steamer and a dedicated milk frother and its uses will help you understand what it is, how it operates, and what you can use it for each day. These elements are vital when deciding on purchasing a product like a standalone milk steamer for your kitchen.
What is a Milk Steamer?
A milk steamer is an integral part of making specialty drinks like lattes. You can use this multi-functional item to both froth and steam milk, depending on the process involved. Steamed milk is what baristas use to make those cute designs on your cup of latte at the local coffee shop.
Many expensive coffee machines will include a milk steamer as an additional feature. You can also purchase standalone milk steamer products for consumers who do not want the entire machine. They are easy to use and come in various sizes with features for any budget.
What it Does
When using a milk steamer, you insert the steam wand into the milk below the surface. It shoots pressurized air into the liquid while heating it. This milk steaming process helps to fold air into the milk using these jets of air like tiny whisks.
Steamers help texturize the liquid, giving you a smooth, velvety product perfect for your favorite hot beverage. They do this by heating the lactic sugar in the milk, which breaks down its fats.
Steamed Milk vs. Frothed Milk
There is a substantial difference between a steamer and a frother, though. Each item’s resulting products vary significantly, depending on what drink you prefer and the procedure used during the process. Handheld milk frothing devices will include two whisks to steam and froth your favorite dairy choice.
Steamed milk becomes aerated with tiny air bubbles, creating a silky microfoam that gives it a smoother, velvety texture for many hot drinks. In addition, it tends to be heavier than frothed milk, making it ideal for drinks like lattes.
Frothed milk is foamy and has a light but stiff texture that you can use in hot and cold drinks. It is exceptionally airy and tops off drinks like cappuccinos.
The Best Milk for Steaming
Not all dairy is created equal. While you can use a milk steamer with any type of dairy or non-dairy milk alternative, the result will vary significantly, depending on the product you use. Although you can still create great steamed milk for a latte with soy or almond milk, using high-fat cow’s milk yields the best results.
Milk with high-fat content tends to be the easiest to manipulate when steaming. Its combination of fats, sugars, and proteins is the perfect balance to create a dense, creamy microfoam that is flavorful and easy to make for your hot beverages.
If you create a delicious hot beverage but do not care if you can create attractive designs in the foam, many milk alternatives like soy will be acceptable. These substitutes will still add exceptional flavor to your drink but may not be as easy to manipulate as traditional high-fat milk can be.
Some tips to follow when steaming milk are:
- Use fresh, chilled milk and never reuse heated milk that has cooled
- Do not spend too much time heating the milk since overheating can cause the milk proteins to break down, making it harder to produce microfoam
- Using a warm mug can help keep your drink warm without the worry of overheating your milk during the steaming process
Do You Need A Milk Steamer?
While some individuals create steamed milk for their lattes at home without a milk steamer, the process can be cumbersome and difficult. In addition, without a standalone milk steamer, you will have extra dishes to clean, and you will have to be diligent regarding the temperature and duration any time you attempt the process on your own at home.
Purchasing a standalone milk steamer will give professional results for many coffee lovers without paying coffee bistro prices for each cup. So whether you want to host some friends for specialty coffee or just want to enjoy a great-tasting cup on your own, having a steaming unit at home can pay for itself when you are not running to your local cafe each day.
Other Uses for a Standalone Milk Steamer
Using a standalone milk steamer is not just for your morning latte. There is so much more you can do with one of these devices at home. From gourmet hot chocolate or chai lattes to honey cinnamon milk steamers, there is no limit to the choices you have with a unit at home.
While you can find numerous fancy hot drinks to create with your favorite milk steamer, you can also enjoy the simplicity of this product. Many people will reach for their unit to make a nice warm cup of milk in the evening before bed. Remember that you do not have to create extravagant drinks each time. Often a simple cup of warm milk will do the trick.
Standalone Milk Steamer Options
Many coffee lovers do not want to take the jump and purchase an extravagant coffee machine. However, buying a standalone milk steamer can provide you with options you do not get with a traditional coffee maker without a hefty price tag.
A standalone milk steamer can be the solution if you are in the market for different beverage options without committing to an expensive and complicated coffee machine. After searching through dozens of products and reviews, we have narrowed the selection down to four separate categories showcasing some of the best features in the market today.
Miroco Electric Milk Steamer
This compact milk steamer is easy to use and will produce exceptional steamed milk in four different frothing densities. Whether you are looking for a hot or cold beverage, the Miroco Milk Steamer excels as a hand-held, straightforward product for all of your needs.
The Strix Temperature Controller ensures that the unit will shut off when your milk is finished to avoid over-steaming and inferior drinks. It also has virtually no sound during operation, making it a breeze to create your drink early in the morning while others sleep.
Secura Detachable Stainless Steel Electric Milk Steamer
If you want the best bang for your buck, the Secura Detachable Stainless Steel Electric Milk Steamer is a perfect choice. It includes heating and frothing disks, so you can choose to steam or froth your beverage, depending on what taste you are looking for at that time.
This large capacity item prepares 250 milliliters worth of product, making it ideal for several cups at once. The multi-functional button makes it easy for anyone to create a variety of beverages. In addition, it is dishwasher safe and easy to clean.
EZBASICS Electric Stainless Steel Milk Steamer
Create your steamed milk in style with the EZBASICS Electric Stainless Steel Milk Steamer. This fully automated unit can process your favorite dairy product for your hot beverage in three minutes with the touch of a button. The 237-milliliter hot milk capacity makes this product ideal for anyone who needs larger amounts of steamed milk.
Its non-stick food-grade interior coating makes it easy to clean, and it has an ergonomic handle for your comfort. In addition, the automatic shut-off feature ensures that you will not burn your milk or forget about it during operation.
HIC Manual Milk Steamer Frother
For anyone looking for a milk steamer and frother that does not require electricity or batteries, the HIC Stainless Steel Manual device is perfect. Use the top plunger built into the lid to create the desired consistency for your hot or cold beverage.
This versatile unit can prepare any milk or milk substitute for your favorite hot drink. It is durable, portable, and easy to clean since it is dishwasher-safe. Take it anywhere you want to create your favorite beverage, from camping to hotels; this HIC Manual Milk Steamer Frother will help you make specialty coffee beverages anywhere.
It can be tempting to purchase new kitchen gadgets when they come out in the market, especially if you expect to use them regularly.
However, before you decide which standalone milk steamer you need, be sure to explore its many features and settings. By familiarizing yourself with the unit, you can eliminate an impulsive purchase that you cannot use down the road due to its complexity or difficulties cleaning or operating.