Why You Should Always Use Cold Milk When Frothing Milk For Lattes

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When you're in need of a caffeine fix, there's nothing better than that first sip of a warm latte. While lattes of course contain espresso and milk, the star of the show is the fluffy, silky foam on top, which is always worth the milk mustache. When you're in a rush at home, it may be tempting to skip this step, but you'd be missing out on the complete latte experience — and there are a few tricks you can use to make frothing as easy as possible.

For example, while you can use a milk steamer or French press, a hand-held frother is a much easier (and cost effective) way to get the job done. These little devices run for as low as $6.95 on Amazon, and all you have to do is stick them in a cup of milk and press the button until you see bubbles. If you have a mason jar on hand, you can also just shake your milk for 30 seconds until it's frothy. And for best results, keep in mind that the type of milk you use matters when making coffee drinks. Even the best tools can't turn some milks into foam — so before you get started, keep this tip in mind.

Warm milk can be difficult to froth

Even though you're aiming for a hot latte, you're going to want to froth milk when it's still cold — so if you're using a steamer, start with cold milk in a chilled steaming jug (you can even pop it in the freezer for a minute or two before frothing). Why? If milk is hot, or even lukewarm, it's very difficult to make the bubbles needed for an airy foam. This is due to the proteins in milk, which unwind when they become too warm and aren't able to properly create the structure necessary for bubbles. But maybe you don't want to pour cold milk (frothy though it may be) on your warm drink — and if that's the case, you can heat it up afterwards, which will actually make the foam set.

There are a few other factors to keep in mind too. Aside from potential spoilage issues, old milk can be very difficult to froth. Higher-fat milks, like whole and 2%, will create a thicker foam with smaller bubbles, while lower-fat ones will produce froth that is fluffier, less dense, and a little more bland. If you choose whole-fat milk, take your time and don't rush the process too much – more fat means the bubbles take a little longer to surface, but the end results will be worth it. If you're a fan of non-dairy milks, oat and coconut versions also work beautifully here. But whichever kind you choose, make sure it's fresh, and straight out of the fridge.