A portable milk steamer wand is something that every barista would love to have, and one sort of semi-portable milk steamer wand does exist – it’s big and clunky and the size of a small home coffee machine.
When a portable product of this nature is mentioned they are likely thinking about portable milk frothing wand – which works in a totally different way to that of a milk steamer that is attached to an espresso coffee machine.
Keep reading as I dig down and talk about milk steamers, milk frothers and what you need to know.
What Is A Portable Milk Steamer Wand?
A portable milk steamer wand does not yet exist. The ability to produce steamed milk in a portable wand is unlikely to exist at any point in the future as it will require a heat source, an area to hold the water and a pump to pressurize the steam.
Steam wands for this very reason are attached to coffee machines. They produce frothy milk by heating it up and create milk foam by injecting steam into the milk.
The Huogary milk frother is a milk steamer machine for making steamed milk. It is not a portable milk steamer or a portable wand. It is a machine that is approximately the size of a single serve coffee machine.
A milk steamer is always attached to a coffee machine, usually but not always an espresso machine.
Read: Steamed milk temp
What Is A Milk Frother?
A milk frother is an essential piece of coffee brewing equipment for making fluffy foam with cold milk. They help you to make the frothy milk that you need for adding the foam to cappuccinos, lattes and other such coffee drinks.
If you don’t have a coffee machine that has a built-in milk steamer, then it is advisable that you have a milk frother of some kind to help you make and enjoy authentic gourmet quality coffee drinks at home, and to practice making eye-catching latte art.
The way in which they work is very different from steam wands as they heat and aerate your milk, creating a thick but light foam with a lighter texture when compared to the velvet-like texture of steamed milk.
There are different types of foamed milk that is produced by milk foamers and steamers depending on the different types of milk that is used by the home or professional barista. All produce different textures, tastes and have a different effect on the coffee drink that you are making.
The goal is getting the perfect foam for the drink that you are serving. Thicker foam is produced by high fat milk.
There are 3 main types of milk frother which are:
- 1. Handheld electric milk foamer.
- 2. Automatic milk frother.
- 3. Manual milk foamer.
All three are capable of making high quality long-lasting foamy milk as long as you are using fresh, quality milk. All three use the method of adding air bubbles to the milk to make the foam.
Read: Steamed milk
What’s The Difference Between Steamed Milk And Frothed Milk?
Both a steam wand and a milk frother produce milk foam and permit you to make latte art with milk frothed in either of them.
not all frothed milk is created equally and of the same quality, texture and duration. The principle difference between steamed milk and frothed milk is water and air. A milk frother makes frothed milk by means of aeration of milk, forcing air into heated milk which produces the bubbles and the resulting foam.
Steamed milk is produced by using steam and forcing steam into the milk and heating it up. When you place the nozzle of the steam wand near to the surface of the milk, it produces more foam than when it is fully submerged.
That is the main difference, a question of air vs water, what produces the milk foam.
Also, the texture is different when using the same type of milk, be it cow milk or almond milk you will get a velvet like texture with a steam wand which is longer lasting. A milk frother produces a lighter, more fluffy foam.
What Are The Advantages Of A Milk Frother
Milk frothers are very easy to use, and you have a wide range of options with the various different types of frother available from different manufacturers.
Milk frothers are very affordable and can make both hot and cold milk foam, which is great when you want to make a cold coffee drink.
Handheld milk frother is easy to use and are not any more difficult than an automatic version which requires zero skill to make milk foam.
Does A Milk Frother Make A Difference?
owning a milk frother will allow you to make a more extensive range of coffee drinks that you would only otherwise get from your local gourmet coffee shop. The ability to make frothy milk makes all the difference. Without it, you are only able to make regular coffee drinks and add a dish of regular milk for the milk drinks.
With a frother you can move up a level and start practicing your latte art and make gourmet coffee drinks with the textured foamy milk.
Does A Handheld Milk Frother Work?
those little handheld electric milk frothing wands work by adding bubbles around the whisk. Plunger-style milk frothers are more efficient due to they froth the milk over the entire surface area of the mesh screen. Both are very effective methods of producing aerated milk foam. It is really only a matter of your own personal choice and preference.
A good quality French press can act as a milk frother too.
What Are The Advantages Of A Milk Steamer Wand?
Steam wands are designed to produce steamed milk and can also produce the frothy milk when the nozzle is placed near to, just below the surface. The plus point of having one attached to your coffee machine is the ability to produce hot coffee-based drinks like a latte, cappuccino, mocha, macchiato, cortado, flat white and of course top quality espresso drinks.
How Do I Get More Foam When Steaming Milk?
The good old saying of practice makes perfect, or better still, perfect practice makes perfect. There is nothing at all that is difficult about frothing milk. Keep the milk steaming wand about half an inch below the milk surface and move your milk jug to produce the foam.
The secret is to keep the tip submerged at a depth of half an inch and an inch and keep moving the jug to vary the depth slightly. You will get the knack of the technique in no time at all. Keep it in mind that the closer the nozzle is to the surface of your milk, the larger the bubbles are. Creating bubbles that are too large is not a good thing.
Frequently Asked Questions About Portable Milk Steamer Wand
Can A Steam Wand Froth Milk?
Yes, literally all modern espresso machines and automatic machines have a steam wand to froth milk. You have seen one many times at your local coffee shop. It is the arm that is usually attached to the side of an espresso machine and forces steam into your milk and gently warms it and brings it to a simmering point, causing it to froth and foam up.
Is A Steam Wand The Same As A Milk Frother?
there is a slight difference between these two devices. A steam wand forces steam into your milk and produces steamed milk, giving it a foamy texture. A milk frother forces air into your milk, producing an aerated milk foam.
Comparison Between a Milk Frother and a Steam Wand.
Does A Frothing Wand Heat Milk?
a frothing wand does heat milk, typically to 150F (65C), as well as forcing air into your milk in order to create the milk froth.
Is It Worth Buying A Milk Frother?
If your coffee machine does not have a built-in milk steamer, then a milk frother is certainly worth buying. A milk frother is a must-have item if you want to make lattes, cappuccinos, mochas, macchiatos and all types of coffee drinks where you need a layer of foam.
What Milk Is Best For Frothing?
Whole fat milk, the full cream version will create a thicker, creamier and better quality of foam, texture and body to your coffee drink. Low fat or reduced fat milk is lighter which produces a lighter foam with bigger sized air bubbles which is not as long-lasting as a full fat whole milk. You can still use it to make a cappuccino or latte that is more delicate and has a slightly different texture.
Can You Froth Cold Milk?
Yes, it does not matter if you are using a milk frother or a milk steamer you can still make good quality frothy milk foam using your frother or steamer when starting with cold milk.
Some milk frothers have the option of choosing a cold foam setting. With a steamer, simply don’t heat the milk with the wand and just keep the head of the nozzle dipped below the surface and produce the foam using your cold milk.
Is A Handheld Milk Frother Worth It?
Yes, if you want to make gourmet coffee similar to Starbucks and your local gourmet coffee shop, a handheld milk frother is most certainly worth it. They are pretty cheap and inexpensive to own and for the price paid, they are more than worth it.
Which Is Better Milk Frother Or Milk Steamer?
In my opinion, a milk steamer is better than a milk frother but understand that these are two different devices that create different types of frothy milk: one makes steamed milk, the other makes frothed milk and is perfect for making cold foam. You can’t make cold foam with a steam wand.
Since a milk frother is cheap it is worth buying one even if you have a milk steaming wand on your home espresso machine.
Final Thoughts – Portable Milk Steamer Wand
If you have read this far, you know everything that you need to know about a portable milk steamer wand and milk frothing wands and how they are very different, work in a different way and produce results that are different despite looking the same.
Unfortunately, if you have already spent a lot of money on a coffee machine, and it does not have a milk steamer, getting your hands on a portable milk steamer wand is not really a possibility. Just one device exists, and it is not very portable at all, technically and strictly speaking it is portable but to give you my opinion it is not what I would call portable since it is about the size of a single serve coffee machine.
Unfortunately this limits your option to only using a milk frother. On the plus side, if your coffee machine has a built-in milk steamer you can still get a milk frother and make a different type of milk foam for different coffee drinks to enjoy at home and wow your family and friends.
Join our fun and friendly coffee community where we talk about all things coffee, from beans to brews and great tasting recipes. Find us on Facebook/Meta.