How To Froth Milk With French Press – Barista HQ

Regular black coffee is a great morning drink. Sometimes, though, it can get boring, especially if that's what you drink every day.

A trip to your favorite cafe can give you more choices, but that means getting out of your house and paying a little extra for a morning cup.

So, how can you make your cup of joe more interesting at home? The answer: frothed milk.

How can you froth milk at home if you don't own an espresso machine or handheld milk frother? By using a French press!

French Press

Also known as a coffee press, press pot, coffee plunger, cafetière, cafetière à piston, and caffettiera a stantuffo, the French press coffee maker[1] is a brewing device that works by submerging the ground beans in water for an extended period.

This extracts more flavor, resulting in a stronger and more intense cup, compared to other brewing methods like drip coffee makers, which usually make a weaker coffee due to their filtration process.

This device is made out of three parts: the carafe, wire mesh plunger, and lid.

The carafe is the part that holds the water and where the grounds are soaked for an extended period to extract its flavors.

Next, the wire mesh plunger is in charge of pushing all the grounds to the bottom of the carafe so that no grounds will be mixed into your drink for a smoother drinking experience.

Lastly, the lid covers the carafe, keeping the heat inside the device.

Since its introduction in the 1920s, the French press has become one of the most widely used brewing methods in the world. So what makes this brewing device popular?

The French press creates a more velvety texture in coffee than other methods, resulting in a better-tasting and flavorful cup. This is because it removes the oils usually found in drip-brewed coffee.

Next, it doesn't need other materials like paper filters to brew coffee. This makes cleaning easy and produces less waste, making them more environmentally friendly.

The French press also allows you to make multiple cups in a single brewing session (depending on the size of your coffee press).

Some users add more water to the press after brewing their first cup, which we don't recommend as it doesn't produce as much flavor as fresh ground beans.

Furthermore, the stainless steel mesh filters are safer than paper filters, giving you the peace of mind that no toxic chemicals will seep through your drink.

And, of course, the French Press is a straightforward device. All you need to do is add your coffee grounds, pour the water, and let it sit for a few minutes before pressing the plunger.

You can also brew tea in it, making it a great tool!

Learn More - Compare French Press and Pour Over Coffee


Can You Froth Milk With A French Press? (Easy How-To Guide)

The short answer is yes; you can froth milk in a French press. However, one important thing you need to know is that frothing milk at home differs from the frothed milk you get in cafes.

Frothed milk from coffee shops uses steam, which requires an espresso machine with a steam wand.

Our guide will show you how to replicate this milk foam, which gives the same experience as the foamy milk from cafes.

Compared to steaming milk, frothing milk is a less precise process of getting a velvety foam, but it is more accessible.

This method doesn’t need an expensive machine, and simple tools like a French press and a blender can help you froth milk at home.

The result may not be as smooth as steamed milk, but it tastes the same, which levels up coffee drinks at home.

Frothing works better with warm milk, as the protein molecules unfold, trapping air particles as they cool down and curl back up.

You can still froth cold milk if you want some foam on your iced drinks, but frothing cold milk won't produce a creamy texture as when you heat the milk.

So now that you have an idea of the science behind frothing milk, let's begin discussing how you can do this at home!

Ingredients

  • Milk:
    This is the only ingredient you’ll need to froth milk. We will discuss below the best milk to use when frothing in a French press.

Equipment

  • French Press:
    Any size will do
  • A way to heat the milk:
    A microwave or a saucepan and stovetop

Process

Heat The Milk

The best way to heat your milk is by using a microwave. Start by heating it for 30 seconds, stir, and heat again in 15 seconds increments until the milk starts to steam.

If you don't have a microwave, heating milk in a saucepan is also acceptable. Heat the milk on low to medium heat, and stir occasionally to prevent a thin layer from forming on the top.

Once you see steam coming out of it, immediately turn the heat off.

Pour The Heated Milk Into A French Press

Any size of French press will do, but we recommend a smaller size so you can get greater movement.

Make sure to fill it with not more than a third of the container, as the milk doubles in size when frothed. Then, attach the plunger/lid of the press.        

Start Pumping

Start with the plunger on top and plunge it down to create tiny bubbles. Do this motion for at least 10 to 15 seconds or until the milk doubles its volume.

Don't be discouraged if you don't produce enough foam on your first try. Getting a good amount of foam takes weeks, and daily practice can help you get the creamy texture you want.


What Type Of Milk Can Be Frothed In A French Press?

frothed milk into a coffee

The best type of milk to use is whole milk or 2% milk, which will create an almost precise foam.

However, you can use any milk you like, such as non-dairy options like almond or oat milk, but this type of milk might not make the same foam that's velvety and creamy.

You can also use skimmed milk and half & half, but like the non-dairy milk, they won't produce as much froth.

Whole and 2% milk have more proteins, which can help you achieve the foam you need. Don't be discouraged from using milk with lower fat content; you can still froth them.

You just need more patience and practice.


How To Use Frothed Milk From A French Press (Barista Tips)

You can make different coffee drinks with frothed milk from a French press. You can even follow your favorite recipes or experiment and see what you can create.

Latte

This drink is essentially just coffee with milk. In cafes, it’s usually made with espresso shots (hot water and espresso beans) and hot milk.

If you don’t have an espresso machine, a stovetop espresso maker and frothy milk from a French press will do.

You can even use a French press to brew your coffee and make a French press latte. If you have specialty-grade, freshly roasted beans, adding frothed milk can make your cup even more flavorful.

You can also make latte art with frothed milk from a French press.

But making latte art using this foam requires practice as it doesn’t have the same precise foam as steamed milk made from espresso machines.

Cappuccino

If you have a Moka pot to brew espresso coffee, you can use this frothed milk to make a cappuccino at home.

First, brew your espresso and then froth your milk. Once your espresso is ready, add a big dollop of foam from the top of your coffee press and plop it on top of your espresso shot.

Iced Coffee Drinks

You can make a cold brew coffee at home and add some cold-frothed milk on top for a creamier body and smoother flavor.

Also See - Cold Brew Vs French Press

Breve

Using half and half instead of milk makes a simple latte into a breve. Just be careful with this drink, though; it's sinfully delicious. 

Breve has more fat than regular milk and contains more calories.

Frothy Hot Chocolate

Add frothed milk to a cup of hot chocolate to make it creamier and milkier.

Frothed Almond Milk

French Press Milk Frothing FAQs

Is a milk frother the same as a French press?

Milk frothers are made specifically to froth milk. These devices often make the best-frothed milk.

On the other hand, a French press is a brewing device for making coffee. While it froths milk, it doesn’t provide the same result as a milk frother.

Can you make cold foam in a French press?

Yes, you can! To make a cold foam, you need half & half instead of milk and a sweetener. Then, push the plunger up and down to create foam.

Can you froth creamer in a French press?

Yes, you can froth creamer in a French press. Just follow our guide above and replace the milk with creamer.

Does frothing milk make it sweeter?

Yes, it does. While it technically doesn’t make it sweeter, heat increases the perceived sweetness of the milk.

How does frothed milk differ from steamed milk?

The air bubbles in frothed milk are bigger than in steamed milk, which is why frothed milk feels lighter than steamed milk.

Learn More - Frothers Versus Steamers


Conclusion - Get Frothing!

If you drink coffee every day, adding frothed milk to your regular black coffee can make it more interesting. The easiest and cheapest way to make frothed milk at home is by using a French press.

Although it won’t give you the best froth as often it produces big bubbles, it’s still worth a try, especially if you’re bored with your cup of joe.

References:

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_press