Nothing feels quite as luxurious as sitting down to a steaming, frothy cup cappuccino or latte in the morning. The quest for the perfect “micro foam” is high on a many a coffee lovers list with the ultimate goal being a silky, smooth and light foam to swirl into a cup of rich, strong coffee. While steamed milk drinks are the bread and butter of corner coffee shops and mega coffee chains, unless you have the space and money for a high quality espresso machine, steamed and frothed milk can be hard to come by at home. However, with a little time and a few basic tools the perfect cappuccino can be yours for the making.
At a very basic level, cold milk can be “frothed” by pouring it into a large glass jar and shaken vigorously until it has doubled in volume. This foamy milk can be microwave for 30-50 seconds to warm it before adding to your very strong coffee or espresso. Another simple and low-tech method for creating a foamy milk is to warm the milk for just under a minute in a tall glass. Insert a wire whisk and roll the handle between your hands rapidly until the milk has doubled in volume.
For a slightly more high tech method an electric micro-whisk can be used to achieve foam quickly. Look for styles with a horizontal loop of curled wire as these achieve the best results. Warm milk slightly, either in your mug or in a tall glass, and whisk until the desired amount of froth is achieved. These are popular with coffee lovers and can be found in a wide range of prices.
Another lesser known, but progressively popular method for frothing milk involves the use of a French Press. Although narrower and shorter presses are sold specifically for the purpose, any French Press will create excellent foam. Pour cold milk into the beaker of the French Press, filling it approximately one third full. Insert the plunger, being certain the mesh filter is clean and free of any coffee grounds. Plunge the handle rapidly up and down the beaker for about a minute and a half, the faster you plunge, the faster the froth will be created. Once the milk has at least doubled in volume, remove the plunger and microwave the beaker of milk and froth until it is just warm. Lower fat milks are far easier to froth than whole milk or cream and a cold beaker can make the process faster and easier.