A milk frother is the little tube attached to most espresso machines. With a milk frother you can make cappuccinos, cafe lattes, and various other fine coffees. The milk frother uses air and water pressure to quickly infuse cold milk with heat and air so that it become frothy and solid. This pressure usually comes from the process of making an espresso, but it can also come from water that is placed in the espresso machine specifically for the milk frother.
Before you use a milk frother, you must fill up the water in the espresso machine and turn it on. The pressure must build up to about 200psi, which is the normal pressure of a good espresso machine. There should be a way to turn the frother on and off. If there is not a way to do this, the frother with start spewing out water and air at will.
To use a milk frother you must have milk. Your milk should be in a steel container which is kept at about 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit. It is best to use 2% low fat milk, but you may use any kind of milk you like. Soy milk froths a lot less than cow milk, and goat milk produces the best froth.
Place your container of milk just below the milk frother. Raise it so that the milk frother is just below the surface of the milk. If you use a frother too far below the skin of the milk, you will burn and curdle the milk. If you set the frother just above the surface, you'll make a mess and dilute your milk. When it is just below the surface of the milk, turn the frother on full power. As the frother begins to froth the milk, the milk will rise. Slowly lower the milk container so that the frother is always just below the skin.
Once you have frothed your milk, take a spoon and scoop out the froth on the top. Don't expect to do this with your first use of a milk frother, but if you have created enough you can slightly tilt the container and then push the froth out of the container with a spoon.
Using a milk frother takes practice. Most people work out the basic skill in about five attempts or so, and to be an aficionado will take about 20-30. However, twenty to thirty tries only represents one day of milk frother use at a trendy coffee store.