Milk Frother Vs. Steamer: How Are They Different From Each Other?

As a genuine coffee lover, you’d probably have heard baristas ask you how you’ll like your milk, frothed or steamed?

But in your head, you might either get confused or feel as though both are similar.

Here’s the fact; they are not similar. Although it might seem to you that they come out looking similar. Here’s the thing; they share some differences.

These differences contribute to the texture and the flavor you get in your coffee. Don’t worry; we’ll address the milk frother vs. steamer difference in this article so you’ll know better.

Could you stick with us to get enlightened?

Milk Frother

milk frother

Before this era of technology, we probably didn’t need to clear our confusion about which milk type is better; frother or steamed?

You just needed to get whatever coffee you could from the coffee shop. Nowadays, with the advancement of technology, you can decide how you want your milk. If you want the milk in your coffee frothed, you need to get a milk frother machine.

If you want steamed milk, there’s also a machine to help with that. But before we start to talk of machines, let’s take a look at what froth milk is all about.

If you enjoy seeing a lot of foam in your coffee (cappuccino, lattes, etc.), then you should look into investing in owning a milk frother. But if you already have a milk frother, you already understand the goodness that comes with frothing your milk.

A milk frother aerates your milk so that it gives it that adds that foamy, creamy texture to your coffee. In other words, the air is part of the ingredients required to make a beautiful milk froth.

Usually, the majority of coffee lovers love their coffees with frothed milk. The reason is simple. Frothed milk assumes a foamy and creamy appearance that sends coffee lovers into a deep craving for a frothed milk coffee.

It appears smooth and yummy but has a light texture and a lot of foam. A lot of coffee experts classify frothed milk as dry.

The best part is that you’ll find it easier when used to create latte arts as it has a lot more shape compared to the steamed milk.

In other words, while milk froth doesn’t create latte arts, it forms the perfect surface for you to get wildly creative with your latte art. Full of foam and bubble, frothing your milk in your beverage is an easy way to upgrade a basic drink.

It does this by giving a basic drink a richer and enhanced look. It also improves the taste—fun fact: you only need little milk to achieve milk froth. The reason is, after frothing the milk, the milk would magically and dramatically increase in volume.

You can use a milk frother for just about any type of tea, drinks, and coffee. It adds a foamy texture to any drink of your choice.

Milk Steamer

milk steamer

The goal of steaming milk is to give the milk a perfectly plush texture and heat the milk. Quite a few people also call steamed milk ‘perfectly textured milk’. Although air is introduced into the milk while it is being steamed, it has to be controlled.

You have to ensure that the air used to stretch the milk in steaming isn’t too much. This way, you’ll be well on your way to creating the perfect steamed milk texture.

Furthermore, steamed milk has a glossy and shiny appearance with a lot of microfoam. Usually, you won’t see a single foam or bubble on the surface of steamed milk.

The foam is also not too much but is just perfect. It is a fine blend of microfoam and liquid. With perfectly textured milk, you wouldn’t be able to distinguish between the starting and end of the foam and the liquid.

Aside from aerating the milk, perfectly textured milk also requires the vortex to be formed. The vortex is simply the motion of the milk while it is being steamed. The motion is usually in the form of a roll that keeps spinning around while you steam the milk.

The role of the vortex is to ensure that the little amount of air required to formulate the plush texture is smoothly whipped the air and foam around the milk texture. It ensures that the milk maintains that creamy outlook.

The final result should be a fine blend of textured and liquid milk. The combination of air and the vortex results in the steamed milk you get at coffee shops.

To steam milk, you’ll need a lot more milk quantity to achieve the velvety, texturized look it has.

Using steamed milk is a great way to add flavor to your coffee or tea.

Categorized as liquid or wet, steamed milk introduces creamy goodness to your cup of coffee or tea drinks—fun fact: the milk steaming process breaks down the fats in the milk.

Differences Between Milk Frother And Steamer

milk frother vs. steamer

Now that you know what it means to froth and steam milk, you should know that both milk types have one major similarity.

Aside from the fact that they are made from milk, both milk types are used for milk-based coffee. Hence, you should still be here if milk-based coffee is your thing.

If you like your coffee plain and without milk, you might not care too much about frothing or steaming milk. Without further ado, here are the difference between milk frother and milk steamer.

  1. Temperature

When it comes to frothing milk, the temperature doesn’t change. The milk temperature starts cold and maintains its cold temperature all through the frothing process.

The reason?

The frothing process does not require heat. Instead, it needs a lot of air to make the milk assume a thick texture that sits on your coffee and tea drink.

The cold temperature of the milk is very crucial to the frothing process. Experts have speculated that the colder the milk, the better the result you’ll get.

However, a milk frother can still add foamy goodness to hot milk. Note that your frothing pitcher needs to be as cold as the milk to get the best and desired result.

On the other hand, the milk steaming process takes the milk temperature from cold to warm. It heats the milk to add to its overall texture, a warm and delicious feel, and taste to your coffee and tea drinks.

  1. Texture

 Another difference between steamed and frothed milk is the different textures that they assume. When milk goes through the frother process, it comes out looking thick, dry, light, airy, and a lot foamy.

Due to its foamy nature, it maintains a shape that sits well on the surface of your coffee, lattes, and other tea drinks. Its thickness makes it a suitable canvas for your latte art.

Frothed milk assumes a foamy, less watery texture because of the amount of air introduced into it. The air stretches the milk two to three times. The case is different for steamed milk.

Although air is introduced in the steaming process, it is controlled so that it is not too much.

The reason?

Too much air would ruin the expected result for steamed milk. The texture is a velvety, plush texture with microfoam. It has a glossy and shiny appearance.

During the steaming process, while the milk is texturized with its taste improved. It is also heated up in the process.

  1. The Process and Machines

the process of frothing and steaming milk is another difference between the two milk types. The process of frothing milk introduces the milk to the air.

On the other hand, the steamed milk process subjects the milk to pressurized steam. This steam heats the milk and gives it the glossy and silky texture it has.

Frothed milk is made with three different machines depending on which you prefer.

You can use either froth milk with the hand-held pumps, motorized whisks, or automatic electric whisk; of course, the automatic electric whisk is the more expensive option of the three.

The frother whips the milk till it assumes the thick, foamy, less watery shape it always assumes. When making steamed, a steam wand is usually used.

The steam wand is also the perfect milk steamer for a latte. You can also use a stovetop steamer to achieve steamed coffee. However, it would take a lot of practice to get used to making steamed coffee with a stovetop steamer.

Nevertheless, if you ever get confused or unsure of which machine to buy, it’s not a problem at all.

Resort to buying a machine that claims to both froth and steam milk. It will be cost-effective and save space on your kitchen counter.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are frothers and steamers the same thing?

Answer: Not necessarily. Frothers and Steamers are not the same things. While some Milk frothers come with two whisks (one for frothing and the other for steaming), they differ.

Nevertheless, there are quite a few machines that can be used to make frothed and steamed milk.

Can you steam milk with a frother?

Answer: You can steam milk with a frother if the frothing device you have claims to function at both levels. For instance, some frothing devices have two whisks.

While one of the whisks is used for frothing the milk, the other is a steam wand for steaming milk.

Does frothing milk make a difference?

Answer: Yes, frothing milk makes a difference. This difference does not only exist in the foamy nature of the frothed milk but the mouthfeel. Frothing milk gives your drinks an airy and creamy feel.

Is a milk steamer worth it?

Answer: If you love the texture, warmth, and deliciousness of the milk on your latte or cappuccino, then having a milk steamer is worth it.

If you have an espresso machine, you might not need to invest in a steamer. Here’s why: espresso machines come with steam wands that help with steaming milk.

Or, you can invest in an electric steam wand that is easier to use. Do not invest in a stovetop steamer if you are new to the milk steaming process. Stovetop steamers tend to be difficult to use, especially for amateurs.

Are milk frothers worth it?

Answer: Truthfully, Milk frothers are not worth it. The reason is, there are several life hack methods to frothing milk. For instance, you can use the French press to make frothed milk.

You could also buy froth whisks. However, they won’t give you the perfect froth texture.

Closing Remarks

Now that you’ve taken the time to read through this article carefully, your confusion about milk frother vs. steamer should have been cleared.

An easy way to decide the type of milk you want on your coffee or drink is the texture. Steamed milk is silky, has microfoam, and is always hot.

Froth milk, on the other hand, has a foamy texture, is dry, has larger bubbles, and can either be hot or cold. So, the milk with visibly larger bubbles is frothed.

But the milk with microfoam, silky nature, and no visible bubble at all is steamed. Now, have fun!

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