Steamed Milk VS Frothed Milk


Last Updated on March 9, 2023 by Timothy Byron Smith

Have you ever wondered what your favorite lattes and mochas have in common, besides their delicious taste? It’s milk! However, when it comes to Steamed milk Vs Frothed milk, it can be confusing to know which one to use for each drink.

Although many people use the terms interchangeably, steamed and frothed milk are actually two different types of milk. Getting the right kind of milk is crucial in making your favorite milk-based drinks.

We’re here to help you understand the difference between steamed and frothed milk and guide you on when to use each one.

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 part of many espresso machines which shoots a powerful blast of steam in the milk. The milk used is cold and as you steam it the temperature rises.

Steamed Milk

What steaming does to milk is that it breaks the fat molecules creating air bubbles and making milk dense and creamy. 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.

Now, you may be curious to try steaming milk for your next round of latte. For doing so, you will need a decent espresso machine that has a built-in steaming wand. 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. Plus, frothed milk can be both hot and cold.

Frothed Milk

The process of frothing does not require a steam wand. And since frothed milk has more air than water, baristas often call it ‘drier’ than steamed milk. However, this means that frothing milk can be done right at home without a steam wand! There are many ways to do it from using a french press, a blender, or even a handheld frother!

Yet, it doesn’t mean you cannot use the steam wand to froth milk. Yes, you can!  In fact, that is how Baristas do it in coffee houses. However, steaming or frothing are two separate techniques. for frothing milk with a steam wand Instead of submerging the wand into the milk completely, you keep the wand nozzle slightly under the surface of the milk.

Steamed Milk VS Frothed Milk

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 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 in any smoothies to milkshakes if you want extra smooth consistency and extra froth!

For coffee drinks that are served hot, you might prefer steamed milk. It gives you just the right amount of foam to top off the drink and the perfect smoothness. Still, if you prefer the extra froth, and especially if you don’t have a steam wand, then frothing will obviously not disappoint you.

Why Do You Need To Froth Milk?

Have you ever wondered why steaming or frothing milk is so important for your coffee drinks?

Steaming or frothing milk involves adding air to create a foamy texture, which results in a velvety and creamy texture. Heating the milk simultaneously brings out its sweetness.

This properly steamed or frothed milk is a key ingredient that balances the sharp and bold flavors of drinks like latte or cappuccino. It gives your drinks a perfect balance of caffeine and creamy rich texture, resulting in a delicious mouthfeel that will make you crave more.

Without the magic of steamed milk or frothed milk, you will miss out on a lot and the drinks won’t have the ideal texture or flavor. So, don’t underestimate the importance of milk preparation when making your favorite coffee drinks!


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 some coffee, do ask yourself: steamed milk vs frothed milk, which would go better? We guarantee using the right milk will definitely give you a grand coffee experience.

Plus, now you know frothed milk gives you extra foam and goes with many hot and cold beverages. And it can easily be prepared at home. This means no more saving money for an espresso machine with a steam wand! You can first froth milk and if you are not satisfied, and want a creamier texture to the milk then steaming will do better.

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