I've always enjoyed making coffee drinks at home - whether it be with almond milk, skim milk, steamed milk, you name it!

With all my experimenting, I wondered whether frothing soy milk was possible.

Here, I've got everything you need to know about getting real froth and great foam with your soy milk, with and without a machine!

Yes, it is most definitely possible to froth soy milk.

You can easily make soy milk froth similar to cow's milk froth - you'll just need a bit of practice!

Even though soy milk doesn't have the proteins that cause dairy milk to have air bubbles and froth, most soy milks already have a thickener to give it the proper consistency to create froth.


The Key To Making Soy Milk Froth (Barista Expert Tips)

It can be tricky to create soy milk froth, especially if you’re really new to it! Here are some suggestions to get you started.

Start With Cold Soy Milk

This is a BIG one. Make sure you're starting with refrigerated soy milk and a cold frothing pitcher to get the best results.

Heat It Up Slowly

When you're heating your milk, make sure you're doing it slowly, as this will give the milk time to aerate without overheating it.

Pay Attention To The Temperature

As mentioned, soy milk has a lower protein quality than cow's milk, so you'll want to ensure you're frothing it at a lower temperature.

You'll want to froth soy milk at about 135F (53C) and maintain that temperature throughout the process.

For reference, dairy milk is frothed at a temperature of about 145F (63C). 

Soy Milk Is Best Served In Bold or Dark Roasts

Compared to whole milk, soy milk doesn't have a lot of fat content and is also more vulnerable to acidity. That can affect the quality of the froth and even lead to curdling.

While not much can be done, it's always best if you serve milk substitutes such as soy milk in a bold or dark roast.


How To Froth Soy Milk Like a Professional Barista

I've tested a couple of methods at home on the best way to froth soy milk, so you'll be able to replicate this at home in no time at all!

Frothing Soy Milk With A Frother

Handheld

  1. To start, make sure that you've already heated your soy milk to a temperature of about 135F (75C) - make sure you're using an espresso thermometer to measure this, as accuracy is a must!
  2. Add the desired amount to a frothing pitcher.
  3. Once you've got the level right, go ahead and plunge it with your handheld milk frother until you feel that it's getting harder to plunge. If you're not sure, you can always stop to check the texture.
  4. Keep going, and you'll have the right soy milk froth in no time at all.

Manual

  1. Same as with the handheld version, ensure you've heated it to the right temperature.
  2. Then, make sure you've filled it up to about ⅓ of the vessel before attaching the lid.
  3. Once everything is set, start pumping the plunger up and down and slowly building up your speed. The faster you pump, the more aerated your milk will be. Make sure you temper your strength, though, or you'll run the risk of damaging your frother!
  4. After about 30 seconds, check your progress, and once you're happy with it and have a creamy foam, go ahead and pour it into your favorite espresso drink.

Electric

This is an extremely simple method since you're pretty much using automatic milk frothers for this. To do this, you'd:

  1. Pour your soy milk into the milk jug - ensure you're following the marking on the vessel to find out what quantity should be poured.
  2. Set the temperature and froth density in accordance with the instructions of your milk frother. Make sure you read the instructions carefully as each frother is different!
  3. Once you've turned on your electric automatic frothing pitcher, the frother will do its own job. Once you've got the milk foam you're looking for, transfer it to your lattes or cappuccino and enjoy!

Frothing Soy Milk Without A Frother

Don't have a frother? No worries, there are other ways for you to get frothy milk in no time at all!

French Press

This process is similar to a manual milk frother, as a French press also comes with a plunger and built-in filter.

  1. Put milk in your French press - ensure it's filled no more than one-third.
  2. Take the plunger and pump it up and down. The longer you do this, the more milk frothing will happen. In about a minute, you should have the perfect frothed milk.

Blender

This is an easy and effective method if you're looking to get creamy froth.

  1. Pour your cold soy milk into a blender or immersion blender and blend it on high speed for a minute until you see tiny bubbles.
  2. If you need more foam, go ahead and blend it for a bit longer.
  3. You've got thick cold foam ready to use on a delicious drink! 

Jar Or a Shaker Cup

Even if you don't have any fancy equipment, it's still possible to froth milk!

  1. Get a glass jar or shaker bottle and fill it with soy milk. Make sure that it's not more than two-thirds of the jar.
  2. Shake the jar vigorously.
  3. You'll start to see jar bubbles appear. The more you shake it, the more air will get incorporated and the frothier it'll get.
  4. Once you're done, go ahead and pour the thick froth over your drink of choice! Whether that be cappuccino, or whatever you like!

Espresso Machine

You could also use the steam wand on your espresso machine to make steamed milk and froth!

  1. Fill up your milk jug before positioning your steam wand correctly.
  2. Add large bubbles into your milk by putting the wand's tip near the surface until you hear big slurping noises.
  3. Lower your wand once you have larger bubbles and tilt your pitcher slightly.
  4. Once that's done, purge your wand, give your jug a tap, and you're good to go!

Frothing Soy Milk With Nespresso Aeroccino

If you've got a Nespresso Aeroccino - essentially a machine that's a Nespresso milk frother, it's one of the easiest ways when it comes to frothing soy milk at home.

  1. All you've got to do is fill the jug up to the correct level with your soy milk and press a button.
  2. In no time at all, you'll have foam that's perfect for your cup of coffee! 
You can get better results with a Nespresso Aeroccino than some of the other methods that require more technique.

Just remember that if you choose to heat the milk, go ahead and use a lower heat setting than what you would typically use with dairy milk.


What Exactly Is Soy Milk and How Is It Made?

One of the plant-based alternatives out there, soy milk, is made from soybeans and is incredibly delicious.

It has become a popular option in recent years - especially for vegans, and there are a plethora of brands out there, so you're able to purchase the one that best suits your needs.

Specifically, soy milk is made by blending soaked soybeans with water and straining the solids.

Some soy milks have gellan gum in them as it acts as an emulsifier and also makes it more creamy.


Why Is Soy Milk Harder To Froth Than Regular Cow’s Milk?

Soy milk is harder to froth than regular cow’s milk because of its proteins.

Soy milk has fewer proteins (weak protein bonds) in comparison to dairy milk and breaks down at a lower temperature - making it more challenging to froth.

Reasons Your Soy Milk Might Not Be Frothing

  • Lack of protein:
    The main reason is likely the lack of protein in comparison to dairy milk. Due to this, air escapes quickly, making it harder to get a better froth. Different brands have started to combat this by adding ingredients such as gellan gum. Gellan gum binds the properties of the milk and helps air trap more effectively.
  • Heated it too quickly:
    As mentioned, be it regular soy milk or commercial soy milks, you need to be careful with its temperature. If you bring the temperature of this vegan milk up to 145F, the heat will cause it to curdle and split.[1] To avoid this, make sure you've got cold-temperature soy milk to start with and that you're heating it slowly.
  • High acidity:
    Soy milk reacts to acids by curdling, and as coffee is acidic, there's a chance of this happening.[2] It's hard to avoid this, but you could consider getting beans or grounds that have a lower level of acidity. Sometimes, you can also consider diluting your coffee with a little bit of extra water or opting for a darker roast.

Related Frothing Soy Milk Questions

Can you get cold foam with soy milk?

Yes, you can easily get cold milk foam with soy milk. Just make sure you're using a good product!

What is the best soy milk for frothing?

The best soy milk for frothing is Westsoy Organic Unsweetened Soy Milk. It is a good one that won't overpower the taste of coffee and also froths nicely!

Does heating soy milk destroy nutrients?

Yes, heating soy milk will destroy most of the anti-nutritional factors and improve the digestibility of soy protein as well.

How long does it take to steam soy milk?

It doesn't take long to steam soy milk. About 10 to 20 seconds is really all you need - once you start to see bubbles.


Conclusion

It's definitely possible to froth soy milk, and you can even create some incredible foam to pair with your coffee!

While some patience is required - especially if you're new to making this- you should be able to create foam that's on par with the ones you can make with animal products in no time!

References:

  1. https://www.thekitchn.com/why-does-soymilk-curdle-in-hot-148329
  2. https://casadesante.com/blogs/milk-alternatives/the-science-of-soy-milk-curdling-in-coffee-what-you-need-to-know#:~:text=One%20of%20the%20main%20causes,milk%20looks%20clumpy%20and%20curdled.

Karmy Widjaja

Author

Karmy Widjaja
Karmy Widjaja, holding a degree in Hospitality Administration, combines her academic background with a profound passion for the world of coffee. Her work is enriched with a wealth of insights, not only about the art of coffee making but also about the broader aspects of the coffee industry. Her quest for coffee perfection is a central theme in her engaging articles, as she continues to explore the vibrant coffee scene in Perth. And when it's time for a coffee break? Karmy's all about a laid-back flat white with almond milk – it's her go-to for a tasty coffee kick.

My favorite drink? I'd go with... flat white with almond milk.

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