Making Deliciously Chilled Sweet Foam with a Milk Frother

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Most of us, upon waking up, desire nothing more than a hot cup of coffee (and maybe a few extra minutes in bed). Before the pandemic, we used to enjoy the midday respite from the office that coffee shops provided, chatting with coworkers and idly waiting for our cappuccinos and macchiatos.

We've all had to adjust to working from home and missing out on conveniences like an expertly crafted oat milk latte since the pandemic. This is just one of many ways in which our lives have changed since the outbreak.

Those in need of caffeine (and stimulation) sat in kitchens, whipping cane sugar and instant coffee to create the frothy, overly sweet goodness that was dubbed dalgona coffee. This trend spread quickly on social media during the pandemic.

Coffee giants have caught on to our insatiable demand for dalgona's signature pillowy foam. Many were enamored by Starbucks' pumpkin cream cold brew, and the previous year Dunkin' Donuts collaborated with the popular TikTok personality Charli D'Amelio to release a cold brew beverage that featured caramel pumps and a sweet cold foam sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.

Fortunately, you can make both iced and hot foamy beverages right at home. We consulted the professionals at New York City's Coffee Project to help you along your journey.

Coffee Project is a local, women-owned roastery based in Long Island City that operates coffee shops all over the city and provides training for aspiring and professional baristas alike. Obviously, they have mastered the science and craft of making foam at home.

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nespresso milk frother The above image was provided by Nespresso.

Create foam for steaming drinks.

Co-creator of Coffee Project Kaleena Teoh summed up the fundamental principle of preparing espresso drinks in a single line: "It's all about the ratio of milk-to-espresso." All of your favorite coffee shop beverages can be made by beginning with a double ristretto pour of pure espresso and then adding different amounts of frothed and steamed milk.

When asked how much espresso to use, she says, "Two ounces is about par." You can make a classic macchiato by adding just one ounce of milk to your espresso. A cortado is a latte to which two ounces of milk have been added. A typical flat white contains three to four ounces of coffee. And with a few more pumps of the frother, you've got a cappuccino; a lot more and it's a latte. ”

Teoh recommends getting an electronic frothing whisk, available for less than $20 on Amazon, to make foam at home. The Aeroccino by Nespresso is an instant steamer that can be kept on the counter and is worth the additional cost.

Basically, all you have to do to use the countertop model is pour in some milk and press a button. Foaming your hot milk with a whisk is just as effective, but it requires preheating the milk (either in the microwave or on the stove) and more precise whisking technique.

Make sure the milk you're heating to froth reaches a temperature of between 130 and 155 degrees Fahrenheit using a food thermometer. When the temperature of milk reaches 170 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, the proteins in it begin to denature and burn. The following step is to get a whisk and froth your milk in two easy steps: aeration and blending.

Aeration, in which air is injected into the milk, is the first step. Teoh says, "When you use a handheld frother, you want to get to the point where you can see the little coil actually pulling air into your milk." You shouldn't put it at the very bottom." Before moving on to the next stage of incorporation, this should take no more than five seconds. Once you get the whisk down close to the bottom of the vessel, a small vortex will form and you'll hear a whirring noise. All the air you pumped into the milk at the beginning of the process is now being broken down into tiny, tiny, tiny bubbles, giving the milk its desirable shiny, silky surface. ”

Mix for about 10 seconds, then remove the whisk and tap the bowl a few times to get rid of any big air bubbles that may have formed on the surface of the milk. If you want a clean cup, tilt it to one side and pour the milk into the middle, rather than down the side. Once your mug is almost full, lower your milk container until it just touches the rim, and then carefully pour the rest of the frothy milk on top.

A shiny, silky surface is what you're after, and all the air you injected into the milk is being broken down into tiny, tiny, tiny bubbles to create it. ”

Whole milk, according to Teoh, will always yield the creamiest froth, but other types of milk should work just fine. For those who are allergic to dairy, she recommends skim milk, while oat and almond milk are her next best options. She tells us that she and her staff put over a dozen oat and almond milks through a rigorous taste and froth test, and that the winners were Chobani Barista Edition oat milk and Almond Dream vanilla flavor.

Look for "barista edition" on the label of any nut milk or oat milk you intend to use to make foamy beverages. Despite appearances, this means that the manufacturer has included a higher percentage of protein in the blend, which results in a creamier froth when used in espresso drinks.

Create froth for iced drinks

The popularity of cold foam has led to a rise in the consumption of cold beverages that feature frothed milk. Nonfat or skim milk is frothed into a cloud-like state and used to simulate the airy toppings you'd typically see on a hot espresso beverage to create what is known as "cold foam," which can be seen atop cold crew beverages at your local Starbucks.

Cold foam is a great way to add flavor and interest to a cold espresso drink without making the whole thing taste too milky, and it also has a great texture when done right, which is creamy and velvety. Since only a small amount of milk is required to create the foam, drinking cold foam is also a low-calorie option. The flavor of the cold foam on top of your morning coffee is only limited by your imagination.

Using the knowledge we gained from experimenting with hot beverages, we can deduce that milk with a lower fat content yields superior cold foam. Compared to low-fat and whole-milk dairy products, it has the highest protein content. However, the fat lipids in whole milk are ideal for espresso drinks served hot because they prevent the bubbles from expanding too much. You can achieve a denser, more ice cream-like consistency by replacing half of the milk with half and half.

At home, you can make cold foam by using the same handheld whisk you use for hot drinks. You can add as much milk as you like, but keep in mind that the foam will more than double the volume of the milk. Add a teaspoon of simple syrup (which you can make on the stovetop with equal parts water and cane sugar) or a pump of flavored syrup for additional sweetness and flavor. Use the same technique to froth the milk, and then add it to your iced coffee with a spoon or a pouring utensil. Store-bought cold brew, iced Americanos, and iced lattes are all fantastic choices.

In the absence of a whisk, cold foam can be made by combining the same ingredients in a French press and pumping the plunger up and down until the milk doubles in volume, creating a firm froth with tight, uniform bubbles.

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Austa Somvichian-Clausen lives in Brooklyn with her girlfriend and two pets. She is a freelance food and travel writer. Accompany her on Instagram.
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