What is a Latte Frother?

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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 23 November 2019
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A latte frother is a device for creating foam or froth for drinks. They are usually found as a built-in accessory to espresso machines, or as a handheld device for easy use. Some also can pump steam into the liquid, heating it to perfection while it creates a dense and fluffy foam.

Lattes are a coffee drink that combine espresso with steamed milk. In a traditional latte, a thick cap of foam is added to the top of the drink, adding delightful texture. The thickness and amount of foam is a personal choice. Dry lattes have little steamed milk and a ton of thick foam, while wet lattes have more liquid milk and just a light foam top. Foam is also traditionally used to create cappuccinos and sometimes mocha and hot chocolate. If you enjoy hot drinks, a latte frother is a handy tool to keep around the house to add a bit of fanciness to your beverages.


On an espresso machine, you will often find a frother as a wand that sticks out from the machine at an angle. It usually has a removable rubber tip, and is controlled by a dial or switch. Most machines will come with a metal pitcher used for steaming the milk. When you turn the latte frother on, hot steam will shoot out, so be careful not to get in its way. It is recommended that you place the wand at the bottom of your pitcher of milk before turning it on.

To make perfect steamed milk and foam using an espresso machine latte frother, turn the dial onto full power and let it steam the milk until large bubbles form. Then work the pitcher up and down a bit, allowing the first froth to form. After about thirty seconds, turn the dial to half power and hold the wand about two inches below the surface of the milk and froth until ready. Perfect foam should have a glossy or silky appearance.

For a simpler device, a hand-held latte frother can be purchased at most kitchen equipment stores and can be used directly in your drink, if you wish. Hand-held latte frothers are usually operated by battery or plug, and most do not heat the milk. Instead, after foaming the cold milk, place the pitcher or mug in the microwave and heat for about one minute.

Another form of latte frother is a tall glass pitcher with an attachable top and mixer. Once turned on, these will quickly froth the milk themselves. These are an excellent choice if you are a hostess or multitasker, and can’t waste the time holding onto a hand-held or espresso machine latte frother.

Espresso machines are fairly expensive, but you do get the ability to do far more than froth milk with them. Depending on the model and the features, they are priced anywhere between $30-$3500 US dollars (USD.) Hand-held frothers and pitcher frothers are considerably less expensive, and can usually be found for $20-$30 USD. If you are a heavy espresso drinker or entertain a lot, an espresso machine may be a great choice for you. On the other hand, if you simply like to pep up a drink from time to time, a hand-held latte frother can be a great kitchen tool.


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Post 3

@turquoise-- I assume you have the type that's just a round steel wire and requires battery power. I've also heard that those are fragile.

I have a manual coffee frother and it works great. It sort of looks like a French press and it's made of glass. But it works very well. It only takes about twenty seconds to get froth and it's so easy to clean. Coffee can be added directly to it before serving, so it's more efficient.

Post 2

@literally45-- Latte milk frothers are not very expensive, but it might last longer if you buy it as part of the espresso machine.

I make lattes and cappuccinos regularly, and I'm on my third milk frother in two years. The first one broke after six months. The second one lasted longer but it wasn't making as much froth as it used to so I bought the third one when I found it on sale.

Espresso machines cost a lot, but you might as well pay a little more and get one with the frother.

Post 1

I found an espresso machine that I like but it has no latte frother. If I get one with a frother, it's going to cost more. So I'm wondering if I should just get the espresso machine and buy a latte frother later if I want to make lattes. I don't drink lattes very often but my wife enjoys them.

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