Steamed Milk VS Frothed Milk

Steamed Milk VS Frothed Milk

Do you know the one thing that is common to all your favorite coffee beverages like a latte or the chocolatey mocha? Hint: It’s not just their delicious flavors. All these drinks and many others use milk! But steamed milk vs frothed milk, which one goes where?

Maybe the more common reaction would be, wait what? They are two different kinds of milk! Indeed, they are. Contrary to popular practices and knowledge, steamed and frothed milk is neither interchangeable nor one and the same thing. But, we agree they can be super confusing!

However, getting your milk right is critical to making a fantastic cup of your cherished espresso. That’s why we’ll get you out of this quandary of which milk to use and why? Once you start using the correct milk, believe us your drinks will taste as they’ve never tasted before. Heavenly!

Why Do You Need To Steam or Froth Milk at all?

Wondering why all the hassle in the first place? Why not just add the milk as it is? Except, then you will no longer fancy your favorite beverages. And the flavors you so cherish, well, you might end up rethinking your coffee choice. The essence of many espresso drinks lies in the proper milk preparation.

A properly steamed or frothed milk contributes greatly to the enhancement of flavors in espresso drinks. Steaming or frothing essentially means creating a foamy texture by adding air. It gives the milk a velvety and creamy texture. And if you heat it simultaneously, it brings out the sweetness of the milk.

Steamed or frothed milk is the key ingredient that balances the sharp and bold flavors of the espresso. Giving you that goosebumpy mouth feels and the perfect balance of coffee, creamy richness, and sweetness. Without that, your drinks will not have the magic that makes you crave them every day.

What is Steamed Milk?

As the name suggests, you’re gonna have to steam it. And this steaming is done using the steam wand. It is a component of the espresso machine which shoots a powerful blast of steam in the milk. The milk used is cold and as you steam it its temperature rises.

Steamed Milk

What steaming does to the milk is break the fat molecules in it creating air bubbles. This is commonly known among baristas as microfoam which is essential for latte art. Steaming creates an extremely creamy texture that feels extremely light in the mouth. People often describe the texture as very smooth and silklike.

Are you suddenly curious to try steaming milk for your next round of latte? You will need a good espresso machine. One that comes with a steam wand, which many typically do. Before you get down to it, remember to learn the right way to steam your milk first!

What is Frothed Milk?

Frothed milk, like steamed milk, involves running air through the milk. But that is where all similarities between the two end. The air bubbles created in frothed milk have a larger volume and an ultra-light feel. It’s silkier than silky! Plus, frothed milk can be both hot and cold.

Frothed Milk

The process of frothing does not require steam. And since frothed milk comprises more air than water, baristas often call it ‘drier’ than steamed milk. However, this means that you can easily froth your milk right at home without a steam wand! There are many ways to do it from using a french press to a whisk!

This doesn’t mean you cannot use the steam wand to froth milk. You definitely can. In fact, that is how Baristas do it in coffee houses. However, there is a separate technique. Instead of submerging the wand into the milk, for frothing you keep it just under the surface.

Steamed Milk VS Frothed Milk: Which is right for you?

Several espresso-based beverages use frothed or steamed milk to develop a richer and smoother texture. Lattes, mochas, cappuccinos, and many more! While both kinds of milk enhance the consistency and flavors of drinks, you can choose which one you prefer better. It all comes down to how you like your drinks.

First of all, if you’re making a cold coffee drink then you definitely want to use frothed milk. Obviously, you won’t put hot (or steamed) milk in your cold beverage. You can even use frothed milk for other espresso-based drinks if you want extra smooth consistency and extra froth!

For your hot beverages, you might prefer steamed milk. It gives you just the right amount of foam to top off the drink and the perfect smooth consistency. Still, if you prefer the extra froth and (especially) if you don’t have a steam wand, then frothing will obviously not disappoint you.


1. What drinks use steamed milk?
Steamed milk is best paired with hot coffee beverages. Some of the most popular beverages that use steamed milk are lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos, and mochas.
2. Can I use steamed milk instead of frothed milk?
Steamed and frothed milk are not interchangeable. You cannot substitute one for the other because they bring out different textures and flavors. However, you can use the steam wand to prepare both frothed and steamed milk.
3. For which drinks can I use frothed milk?
Frothed milk is perfect for cold beverages like an iced latte. It can essentially be used for all kinds of drinks (hot or cold) such as your lattes, cappuccinos, and other espresso-based drinks. It is best used for drinks that are made with extra froth and foam.


The next time you are in your kitchen making yourself a drink, do ask yourself: steamed milk vs frothed milk, which would go better? We guarantee using the right milk will definitely give you a grander coffee experience!

Plus, now you know frothed milk gives you extra foam and goes with many hot and cold beverages. And frothed milk can easily be prepared at home. This means no more sitting around waiting for an espresso machine to make your favorite drink! You can froth that milk yourself!

About the author

Timothy Byron Smith

Tim is the author and webmaster of this blog. He is a coffee aficionado who has always strived to succeed by simplifying the many facets of the coffee business into engaging and informative writing. In addition to helping readers discover their next brew, he intends to educate them about espresso and coffee.

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