How to Froth Milk for Lattes in a French Press

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Get perfectly frothed milk for lattes without an espresso machine or an expensive milk frother. All you need is a French press to make velvety, frothed milk to make cafe-quality coffee drinks at home.

Frothed milk in a French press

Why You Will Love This

  • Out of all the different ways I’ve tried to froth milk at home without an espresso machine, the French press has been the absolute best and least expensive. It creates beautiful, velvety microfoam with tiny bubbles, just like the froth made at coffee shops to make lattes.
  • Air is pumped into the milk by using the French press plunger which has a strainer attached. Move the plunger up and down, and in a few seconds, the milk will double in volume.
  • It’s a two step process of heating milk then frothing it by pumping air into milk. Milk can be heated using the microwave or on the stovetop.

Upgrade your coffee with frothed milk and flavored syrup or make a tea latte with frothed milk.

Ingredient Notes

Milk in a measuring cup.
  • Milk
    To get rich, creamy, thick froth, whole and 2% milk are the best to use. You can use any milk you prefer though, like almond or oat, but they might not create froth that’s as nice.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Four photo
  1. Heat milk.
    Simmer milk on the stovetop or microwave it. Make sure milk doesn’t come to a boil.
  2. Pour heated milk into a French press.
  3. Place lid on the French press and move the plunger up and down, making sure to hold down the lid.
    Move the plunger until the milk doubles in volume.
  4. Pour frothed milk into a cup of espresso or coffee.
My French Press Pick

Photo Credit: amazon.com

A 12 ounce French press, perfect for 1 serving of frothed milk. Get the bigger 34 ounce size to make more than 1 serving.
SEE PRICE ON AMAZON

Expert Tips

  • Don’t overfill. Don’t fill more than half the French press with milk since you want to have room for the milk to double in volume. It’s best when you fill it up a third of the French press so that milk doesn’t spill out.
  • Don’t underfill. The milk must go past the strainer by at least half an inch once the lid is placed. The milk won’t froth properly if the strainer is only touching the top of the milk in the French press.
  • The best froth is when there aren’t a lot of big bubbles, just tiny ones that create microfoam. A steam wand from an espresso machine creates the best froth since you have the most control in terms of microfoam and foam. An electric milk frother is next best since it heats and froths milk at the same time. After those two, nothing beats the froth created in a French press for home use.
  • Make frothy hot chocolate in a French press! Make hot chocolate and pour into a French press. Pump until it doubles in volume and pour into a cup.
  • The ideal milk temperature to froth is 160°F. Don’t let milk simmer on the stovetop for long. As soon as you see bubbles forming along the sides of the pan, you can take it off the heat.

Questions You May Have

How long should I microwave milk to heat it up to froth?

Put milk into a glass container and microwave 15 seconds at a time. Heat for 15 seconds, stir, then microwave for 15 more seconds until you see steam coming out of the milk.

Can I froth half & half?

Yes! Using half & half instead of milk makes the drink a breve. Using half & half will create really thick and creamy froth since it’s half cream and half milk.

Does frothing milk make the milk sweeter?

Yup. When you heat milk, it increases its perceived sweetness so warm milk will taste sweeter than cold. If you’re trying to reduce sugar intake, look to heating and frothing milk for your coffee so you don’t have to add any sweeteners.

Frothed milk in a latte.

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How to Froth Milk in a French Press

Author: Jee Choe
Make cafe-quality lattes at home using a French press.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 4 mins
Total Time 4 mins
Course Drinks
Yield1 serving

INGREDIENTS
 

  • ½ cup milk

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Heat milk.
    Simmer milk on the stovetop or microwave it. Make sure milk doesn't come to a boil. The ideal milk temperature to froth is 160°F. Don't let milk simmer on the stovetop for long. As soon as you see bubbles forming along the sides of the pan, you can take it off the heat.
  • Pour heated milk into a French press.
  • Place lid on the French press and move the plunger up and down, making sure to hold down the lid.
    Move the plunger until the milk doubles in volume.
  • Pour frothed milk into a cup of espresso or coffee.

EQUIPMENT

NOTES

  • To heat milk in the microwave: Put milk into a glass container and microwave 15 seconds at a time. Heat for 15 seconds, stir, then microwave for 15 more seconds until you see steam coming out of the milk.
  • Don’t overfill. Don’t fill more than half the French press with milk since you want to have room for the milk to double in volume. It’s best when you fill it up a third of the French press so that milk doesn’t spill out.
  • Don’t underfill. The milk must go past the strainer by at least half an inch once the lid is placed. The milk won’t froth properly if the strainer is only touching the top of the milk in the French press.
  • The best froth is when there aren’t a lot of big bubbles, just tiny ones that create microfoam. A steam wand from an espresso machine creates the best froth since you have the most control in terms of microfoam and foam. An electric milk frother is next best since it heats and froths milk at the same time. After those two, nothing beats the froth created in a French press for home use.
  • Make frothy hot chocolate in a French press! Make hot chocolate and pour into a French press. Pump until it doubles in volume and pour into a cup.
  • When you heat milk, it increases its perceived sweetness so warm milk will taste sweeter than cold. If you’re trying to reduce sugar intake, look to heating and frothing milk for your coffee so you don’t have to add any sweeteners.

NUTRITION

Calories: 74 | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 12mg | Sodium: 52mg | Potassium: 161mg | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 198IU | Calcium: 138mg | Iron: 1mg
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