How to Use a Milk Frother

How to get perfectly frothed milk every time.

5 Minutes

By EarlyBird Coffee

Frothy Milk-Coffee’s Best Friend! 


It used to be that the only way to get a cappuccino or latte with perfectly frothed milk was to rely on expensive commercial equipment that could only be found in coffee shops. However, personal milk frothers in recent times have improved vastly not only in their quality but also their price points. Now, it is possible to achieve either steaming hot or cold, barista level frothed milk with just a few easy to follow steps. 

Different types of frothers

When looking for the best milk frothers you will most commonly encounter two different kinds: handheld frothers or countertop frothers that warm and froth the milk simultaneously. Both of these frothers come with their own advantages. The countertop frothers do not require the milk to be microwaved beforehand but are not able to create cold foam for cold drinks. They will always warm the milk along with frothing it. Handheld frothers, such as this one, allow you to make either cold or hot foam depending on the type of drink you are making. They also look great and take up much less space on your countertop because of the included stand. Also, do not let the compact size fool you. These frothers produce over 17,000 RPMs and can make a very impressive foam. 

What kind of milk to use

The type of milk that you will use really depends on the temperature of the drink. If you are making a hot drink and want warm foam you will need to use whole milk since it has a higher fat content and will stand up better to heat. If you are making cold foam then 2% milk will be your best option since it has more protein and will produce an airier foam. 


If you prefer to go with a dairy alternative you should always go for the variety that says “barista edition” or something similar if possible. This may sound like a gimmick but this means extra protein has been added to the milk in order to improve how the milk froths. Also, keep in mind that due to the lower fat content, most plant based milks will not always froth up exactly like their dairy counterparts but will taste delicious nonetheless. You should experiment with different options to help you determine which plant based milk suits your taste the best.

Ideal Milk Temperature 

As a rule of thumb, for hot beverages the ideal temperature for frothed milk is 140F-155F. If the milk gets too hot and starts to boil, the protein in the milk will begin to break down which will severely impact how the milk froths. For milk straight out of the refrigerator, it is best to microwave the milk for 45 seconds to one minute. 

How much milk to use

The amount of milk to use really depends on the type of beverage you are making.

Once frothed, the milk will double in volume so be sure to pick the appropriate size cup when frothing. Using 2 parts coffee to 1 part milk will make a macchiato while using equal parts coffee and milk will make a cortado. Adding more will give you a flat white, cappuccino, and ultimately a latte, which has the highest milk to coffee ratio. When using our EarlyBird concentrate to make a macchiato try starting off by adding 1 tablespoon of concentrate to 6 ounces of hot water. Add one tablespoon each of caramel and vanilla syrup into the coffee and mix. Finally, froth about 3-4 oz of hot milk and add to the coffee to finish. Use this as a starting point and adjust to taste.   


Now that we have discussed the differences between the types of milk that can be used and the ideal temperatures, let's talk about the steps that you need to take to create perfectly frothed milk. For this example we will be using a handheld milk frother. The first step will be to microwave the milk for about 45 seconds to 1 minute. Then we will start the aeration portion where air is drawn into the milk. To achieve this, tilt the cup slightly, keep the frother near the top of the cup of milk and begin blending. You will see a vortex and small bubbles begin to form. After doing this for about 5 seconds, dip the frother towards the bottom of the cup. This will draw the air into the milk. This is normally when you will see the volume of the milk double. In order to avoid making a mess be sure to keep the cup less than half full when starting. Repeat the up and down motion a few times to achieve the best texture. Overall this process should take about 15-20 seconds. 

Once frothed, you can add the milk to your coffee drink. If properly frothed, the milk will stand up to more syrup being added to the top to create a design. Have fun with this since the hard part is over!


If you are looking for another way to spruce up your beverage, consider adding flavored syrups to your milk before frothing it for a burst of flavor. This will allow the flavor to fully blend and incorporate into the milk. 

Today, there are a wide variety of brands that make syrups especially for coffee drinks including Torani, Monin, Ghirardelli, and Jordan’s Skinny Syrups just to name a few. Many of these syrups are also available in zero sugar and low calorie options. The best part is they are widely available in your local grocery stores. Flavored syrups are a great way to quickly add a personal touch to any coffee drink. If you are looking for a well rounded sauce line-up to add to your home setup consider this variety pack from Torani or this one from Ghirardelli