Milk Frother vs Steamer, Which One to Choose?


You may have thought about this question before, which one is better, a frothed milk or steam milk? On which type of drinks do they fit perfectly?  

For a newbie home barista, determining these two milk preparation is essential to the overall result of your beverage. While it can be confusing especially for newcomers in the coffee world, recognizing the different features of the process is essential. 

First is to differentiate the techniques used to prepare the milk, whether you are frothing (foaming) or to steam, making the dairy for your coffee-based drink will have a significant impact on the overall result. With this, discover the unique yet beautiful ways of a milk frother and a steamer and decide which one is better. 

What’s A Milk Frother

A frothed milk, in the world of coffee, is known to be dry; less watery, lighter, lofty, and holds a shape like a foamy texture. 

Preparing this type of milk is easy. The technique is to add air into your fluid using the right device like a steam wand, a milk frother or any similar equipment. Finding a good milk frother is always recommended to achieve the right foamy texture needed for your coffee-based drinks. While any closed-container device is okay, a milk frother is still essential. As long as you can shake this container, it will work. Another alternative can be a French press. 

Though the best way to create large foam is to invest with a portable milk frother as it’s easy to use, handy, and clean. Most of these types of devices are convenient and battery-operated. 

What’s A Milk Steamer

The steaming process for milk is different compared to frothing as this technique exposes the dairy to pressurized steam while it retains the consistency of the liquid. When steam heats up, it texturizers the milk simultaneously. 

With the milk steaming process, this heats lactic sugar while breaking down milk fats. When the liquid is stirred equally, bubbles are created and are uniform. These bubbles are called microfoam. 

Steam milk has a silky and velvety texture that provides a reflective shine when poured to your cup. With the steam wand, you can heat and create foam for your drinks. 

Difference Between Frothing And Steaming Milk

A milk frother and steamer have similar peculiarities. In comparison, a milk frother has two whisks, one for steaming and one for frothing. These devices have multi-functional features and are equipped to create milk-based drinks. 

The significant difference in steam milk is how it develops the texture and flavour of your milk, while frothing creates milk body and thickness. Frothed milk is always warm, It’s impossible to develop a cold foam with a steaming process. 

With a variety of coffee beverages that contain frothed milk, steamed milk, and a combination of both, it’s essential to know the differences of this coffee if you want to create it at home. 

Here’s a quick guide or the most popular variety of coffee:

CappuccinoTraditional (1/3 espresso, 1/3 foam /frother milk, and 1/3 steamed milk with three layers that is served in a glass. Dry – 1 espresso shot with lots of foam and a small amount of liquid. Bone Dry – 1 espresso shot that’s all foam and no dairy. Wet – 1 espresso shot with creamy milk but no foam. 

Latte has 1/3 espresso, 1cm of froth/foam (latter art toppings), and 2/3 steamed dairy. 

Cafe Au Lait resembles latte but is much weaker with 1/2 double strength java and 1/2 steamed milk. 

Macchiato has one espresso shot that has froth toppings. It has a more robust flavour compared to cappuccino. 

Caffe Mocha or Mochaccino is made as cappuccino or latte with cocoa powder or chocolate syrup. 

Flat White resembles latte but has a different portion of espresso and milk. It has two espresso shots with froth/foam and is traditionally served in a tulip 160ml cup. 

Caffe Marocchino is an espresso plus cocoa powder and steamed milk. 

Frappe is an iced coffee that is covered with froth or foam. 

Cafe Miel is made with one espresso shot with cinnamon, honey, and steamed milk. 


The bottom line is, milk frother introduces air to the dairy while the steamer consistently heats and provides a denser texture. Using either a milk frother or steamer produces the flavour and enhances the quality of your beverage, either tea or coffee. It boils down to what your taste preference is, and you’ll decide which process perfectly fits your cup. 


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