Milk Frother Vs. Steam Wand (A Quick Guide)

Last Updated on October 22, 2021 by John Moretti

If you choose between a steam wand or a milk frother, you may wonder if a frother is better than a steamer or are steamers even worth the trouble? To understand their uses and pick one that’s right for you, you should probably know what separates them from each other in the first place. 

A milk frother is an electrical appliance that froths milk from the use of air. A steam wand is a small solid metal pipe attached to coffee machines that create steamed milk. Milk frothers provide more foam than steam wands do; your choice is based on your desired result.

Oh, foam, how it just adds a little extra something to your coffee!  With practice, you can create great-tasting coffee drinks for yourself and your fellow coffee lovers. So coffee connoisseurs, be ready because we are about to look at the difference between milk frothers and steam wands and how to use them to make creamy, delicious coffee every time!

What is a Milk Frother?

milk frother

Milk frothers are the perfect way to add an extra oomph to your morning cup of coffee — and we don’t mean sugar. These handheld appliances easily and effectively create a quick and consistent foamy cream on any coffee beverage. With options ranging from handheld battery-operated milkshake makers to more advanced models with external batteries, you’ll be able to find the one that fits your needs without having to make major concessions.

Which Frother Should I Use? 

Of all the items in your coffee cupboard, none is more important than frothers! Be it cappuccinos or macchiatos; the best frothers are simply irreplaceable when you want to make foamy drinks that are delicious and visually appealing.

There are two types of frothers you can buy: handheld and electric. Handheld frothers are easier to clean and simpler in their design, making them perfect for anyone who wants to whip up a cappuccino or latte but doesn’t have the time to dive into the world of fine coffee making. They’re also easy to store in your kitchen, making them much more space-efficient than their bulky cousins.

How to Froth Your Milk Like a Pro

electric milk frother

What sets barista-made coffee apart from the one you get at home? The body and texture of their coffee. They create this beautifully rich and silky texture in their coffee by frothing the milk. With the right tools and a little bit of practice, you can make it in your kitchen, too!

The milk foam is to die for because it’s a perfect consistency, it’s voluminous, and it’s light as air! The best part? You can top off anything to your liking with the frothiness of the foam. It’s creamy goodness to the very last drop!

Let us share a little secret with you: It’s simple to get barista-approved frothed milk for your drinks at home; just use a milk frother! Forget shaking milk in a jar or using a whisk because milk frothers will save you loads of time. You can use an electronic milk frother if you want to heat and froth the milk simultaneously.

What Is A Steam Wand?

steam wand milk

A steam wand is a device that can be used for creating foam while steaming milk. It’s the workhorse behind the best cappuccinos and macchiatos. The steam wand has its differences from the frother. While both mix milk and create foam, they do it in different ways. Steamed milk is always hot, making better and more gentle microfoam, which is called foam. It’s not bubbly like cappuccino foam.

What Kind of Drinks Can You Make with Steamed Milk? 

Some of the most popular and probably your most favorite drinks, too, can be made with steamed milk, including lattes, hot chocolate, and mochas. For example, the microfoam creates the extra special latte art on your favorite beverage. Don’t forget to share an Instagram story of this decadent creation.

How Do You Make Steamed Milk?

That’s easy; you just need to use a milk steam wand! They can be found on various espresso machines. If you want to buy one, higher-priced coffee makers have attached milk steam wands. However, if you want more convenience, you might want to get an electric milk steamer.

So, how does this all work, you may wonder? As the lactic sugar is stirred, fats are broken down, and proteins coagulate; the result is a creamy, foamy substance that adds texture and flavor to your drink, microfoam. It’s used as a base for milk teas, creating the much-loved silky texture in your cup.

What Is The Difference Between Frothed Milk and Steamed Milk?

When it comes to frothing and steaming milk, you can’t go wrong with either a milk frother or a milk steamer. While both appliances can make a variety of beverages in addition to milk-based drinks, a milk frother will have extra benefits in terms of versatility and pricing. Let’s look at the difference between these two milk-processing appliances:

In short, the best milk frother vs. milk steamer debate is simple. If you like your milk cold, foamy, and airy, then a steamer is probably your best bet; if you like it warm, dense, and rich, then a milk frother will make you happy. But really, they do the same thing!

To determine which one is best for you, test out each to see which one gets you closer to your perfect morning matcha latte.

The Bottom Line

The beauty of choosing between the two is that it’s totally up to you! If you’re happy with your current setup, stick to it — but if you’re curious about alternative techniques, experimenting with a new method could bring a whole new dimension to your drinks. Any decent coffee or tea house will be able to serve you a perfectly frothed and steamed beverage — and now you’ll know how!

So, fellow coffee lovers, enjoy and indulge the coffee aroma as it’s time to make and sip on your lovely favorite creamy, foamy cuppa!