A white and creamy cup of coffee is a dream for most of us. Whether you enjoy a smooth and creamy latte, a frothier and chocolatey cappuccino, a strong and smooth cortado, a creamier flat white - or even a rich and dark hot chocolate - ensuring the milk is not only at the correct temperature, but is also the right consistency, is essential.
This means that the correct milk frothing jugs are amongst the most important pieces of equipment for any barista or hot drinks providing business. Depending on how many customers your business typically provides a service to, as well as which types of coffees and/or hot drinks are available, there are a wide number of milk frothing jugs designed for almost every milky hot drink imaginable. A wide variety of different sizes, shapes and materials of milk frothing jugs are available, depending on what your espresso machine, as well as your business, requires.
However, as there are so many different types of milk frothing jugs available to purchase, you must ask yourself several questions beforehand. List the drinks that you wish to serve, including the sizes of the cups and mugs you will use, to ensure that you purchase the correct milk frothing jug for you and your growing business.
In order to assist you, we have produced a detailed guide, below, listing some of the questions business owners often address before ordering milk frothing jugs. We’ve included information on their various sizes, shapes, materials, and many more details on how they are an essential requirement for any business which serves hot, milky drinks.
What is a milk frothing jug?
This may seem like an obvious question, but it certainly has more to it than initially meets the eye. Milk frothing jugs are typically what the name suggests; jugs which enable a barista to create different consistencies of milk, in order to create hot drinks such as lattes, cappuccinos, hot chocolate, cortados and many more. However, milk frothing jugs are also a versatile and adaptable piece of equipment, and an essential tool for any barista, whether they are professional or in training.
Milk frothing jugs are typically available with thermometers, allowing the barista to estimate when their milk is hot enough to serve – although this is always dependent on what the customer has ordered. This means that whether the customer wishes their milk to be very hot, or much cooler, a thermometer shows the barista exactly how warm the liquid inside the jug has become. This is especially useful specifically if the customer has ordered a soya version of any hot drink, as this milk substitute has a tendency to curdle when heated to a high temperature.
Why should I use a milk frothing jug rather than an ordinary jug which I can buy from many different high street stores?
In comparison to other types of jug, which are commonly purchased from almost any high street store, milk frothing jugs are specifically designed for heating up milk. Therefore, they are built to withstand extreme fluctuations in heat during the busy day-to-day business of a cafe or coffee shop.
Additionally, milk frothing jugs are also deep and wide enough to accommodate a wide variety of frothing techniques. This enables baristas to more easily create a variety different coffees including, but certainly not limited to, lattes, cappuccinos, cortados, and flat whites.
As milk frothing jugs are specifically designed for making such a versatile selection of coffees, they are much better than ordinary jugs at doing their job. For example, latte milk must be poured straight from the spout of the milk frothing jug in order to reduce the amount of froth that resides on top of the coffee. This is because lattes are typically made from flat, hot milk, with a thin layer of creamy, compacted bubbles on top.
Cappuccinos, however, need to be poured directly from the edge of the milk frothing jug in order to retain all the froth, as a result of cappuccinos typically being 1/3 froth and 2/3 flat hot milk. This means that milk frothing jugs are versatile enough to be able to pour these specific consistencies of milk - with minimal spillage – due to their sleek and sophisticated design.
Milk frothing jugs are also absolutely essential if you wish for your baristas to create delicate, detailed patterns and/or designs in their milk. The specifically designed spout enables the barista to maintain a significant amount of control over their pouring technique. This enables baristas to make a multitude of shapes and patterns, depending on their level of expertise. However, without the aid of these milk frothing jugs, coffee art - which is admired on all forms of social media - is very difficult to master. By putting a milk frothing jug into the hands of your baristas, you have the potential to delight your customers by placing a genuine cup of coffee art in front of them.
What different types of materials are milk frothing jugs made from and are they suitable for an often very vigorous everyday use?
• Stainless- steel milk frothing jugs
Milk frothing jugs are typically made from stainless-steel. This incredibly strong and durable material is able to be heated up to extreme temperatures, without buckling or breaking under heat. This makes them absolutely ideal for the wide variety of temperatures which many milk frothing jugs are subjected to during the day-to-day activities of a café or any other establishment which sells hot drinks.
Because many milk frothing jugs are made from this durable and long-lasting material, they also cannot be easily scratched, scuffed or marked. Even when scrubbing vigorously at thick layers of debris, after a day of heating up milk, the stainless steel will usually remain scratch-free. Stainless-steel is a low carbon steel, containing chromium, providing a corrosion-resistant layer on its exterior which makes it perfect for barista work.
From forcefully mixing up foamy hot milk, to being submerged in soapy water in a washing-up bowl, as well as being rapidly cleaned in a dishwasher, stainless-steel is able to withstand a whole variety of different, and often extreme, kitchen and barista requirements.
• Aluminium milk frothing jugs
Often used in a whole variety of kitchen equipment - as well as barista accessories - as a result of its strength, aluminium is the perfect material to mould different kinds of milk frothing jugs from. These include, but are certainly not limited to, large jugs and smaller ones, as well as different spout shapes and sizes, in order to create a wide variety of different hot milks for hot drinks. Approximately a third of the weight of steel (2.7 g/cm3), aluminium is a light material with a good strength-to-weight ratio, meaning it will not fatigue staff who will be lifting the jugs all day long.
Like its stainless-steel counterpart, aluminium is naturally corrosion-resistant, as it produces a protective oxide coating, perfect for heating up milk to often extreme temperatures. Anodising, painting or lacquering this material can increase the corrosion resistance of aluminium too.
Aluminium is also a highly recyclable material and can be re-melted without decreasing any of its previous qualities. This means that not only is aluminium a durable, string and corrosion resistant material, it is also good for the environment too!
Milk frothing jugs, made from stainless steel and aluminium, are available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, but you will also come across them made from other materials too. There will always be an ideally-sized milk frothing jug available for your espresso machine, or to suit the types of hot drinks which you frequently sell to your customers.
How can I make the perfect cup of coffee by using milk frothing jugs?
Depending on your individually chosen espresso machine, you may need a smaller or larger milk frothing jug in order to fit your espresso machine’s milk wand. However, once you have decided which milk frothing jug you require, not only for your espresso machine, but also for your business requirements, it can be difficult to know where to start.
Milk frothing jugs work best when they are coupled with a thermometer - as detailed above - in order to gauge the correct temperature of the chosen hot drink. The perfect temperature of a wide variety of milky hot drinks is typically argued to be approximately between 65 and 70 degrees Celsius. This temperature is often indicated on a thermometer by a transitional colour change of green to amber to red, and then back to white.
However, it is not just health and safety requirements which should prevent your baristas from exceeding the 70 degrees Celsius limit. If milk is heated beyond this temperature, it has a tendency to break down and be less creamy than it was at 70 degrees Celsius. This means that, in order to make the perfect hot drink, you must make sure that the milk is always between 65 and 70 degrees Celsius at all times. This is why a milk frothing jog, fitted with a thermometer, is so important in creating the perfect cup of coffee.
If you’re wondering whether your milk has been prepared correctly in your milk frothing jug, a good rule to consider is whether your milk has become frothy, or not. No matter which type of hot milk you are preparing - foamy cappuccino milk or flat latte milk - there must always be at least a small layer of foam coating the top of the jug. This is because espresso wands add air bubbles into the milk, not only heating the milk, but also sweetening it.
As a result of adding air bubbles to the milk, it should expand. If latte milk is being prepared, it should expand by approximately 1/3 of its original size. However, cappuccino milk should expand even further, increasing by approximately ½ of its original size, as you look to create the perfect foamy coffee.
This means that judging the amount of cold milk which you add to your milk frothing jug is an important step in preparing your hot milk. Typically, when preparing a cappuccino, the cold milk should be filled up to the lowest part of the spout - where it starts to edge away from the rest of the jug - in order to stop the milk from overflowing out of the jug. However, if an overflow does occur, simply turning the heat of the milk wand down slightly will stop this from occurring, as you continue to heat and froth the rest of the milk in your milk frothing jug.
Are milk frothing jugs durable enough to withstand a vigorous dishwash?
As a result of being strong and durable, stainless-steel, or alternatively aluminium designs, can both withstand a vigorous scrub. Baristas don’t need to be gentle when they’re scrubbing the milk frothing jug at the end of the day – they’re likely to withstand anything the cafe or kitchen throws at them!.
They will withstand the day-to-day activities of barista life, including, but not limited to, being accidentally dropped, being exposed to extreme temperatures, burned milk, and spillages, and they will also be unchallenged by industrial pot washing.
Consequently, milk frothing jugs are a necessary and very important accessory for any business which provides hot milky drinks to its customers. As a result of their specialised design, durability, ability to withstand extreme heat, they give you the chance to serve the perfect cup of coffee to every customer.