I’ve been wanting to make coffee drinks with milk. Back when I had a microwave, this was pretty easy; I’d just put a beaker of milk in, heat it for 30 seconds, and then froth it up with my cheap milk frother. But I got rid of my microwave years ago in favor of using a toaster oven instead (which has been far more useful to me), and the alternative is to heat it up in a saucepan first, but that’s annoying and means another pot to clean.
I also looked at many of James Hoffmann’s suggested alternatives and they were all either extremely expensive or even fussier than the methods I’d rejected.
So, the other day, after much deliberation I picked up a Bodum Bistro milk frother at Target. I was originally intending to get the higher-end barista version since it seemed like it would be easier to clean and was a little more flexible (since it supports making cold foam as well as having a purpose-made hot cocoa mode), but it turns out that’s only sold online and I didn’t really want to wait.
Anyway, when I unpacked it, I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that it uses the same disc-based power pad connector as my kettle, so I can power both from the same plug! Not at the same time, of course, but I only ever need one to be in operation at once. So, that was a surprising convenience.
So, how does it work?
Pretty well, I’d say! This was an oat milk cappuccino made with one shot of Vivace decaf espresso, brewed with my Flair. It was a little bitter (either because the oat milk isn’t as naturally sweet as dairy milk, or my espresso was a bit overextracted — either is possible!) but it came out really well otherwise and it was no fuss.
As far as cleanup goes, it’s actually really easy. For a quick clean all you have to do is fill it with water and run it through a cycle. If there’s gunk on the beater (for example, due to the milk being scalded or slightly curdled) the frother’s actual beater wand is actually magnetically coupled to the base and comes out easy, and scrubbing it out is very easy.
So, this cheaper model is actually much nicer than the twice-as-expensive “barista” model; that one has to always be plugged in, and the full cleanup process is apparently much fussier. On the plus side, it’s dishwasher-safe, but on the minus side, you’ll probably need it to go in the dishwasher, when for the cheaper one, a quick rinse and maybe a slightly-less-quick hand wash is all it really takes.
So, yeah. If you want a convenient way of frothing your milk at home, I highly recommend this Bodum Bistro frother, especially if you already have a Bodum kettle.
The below links earn me affiliate revenue.
- Bodum Bistro 17-ounce kettle (smaller base, might fit the frother better)
- Bodum Bistro 34 ounce kettle (the one I have)
- Bodum Bistro frother (reviewed above)
- Bodum Bistro Barista frother (the fussier, outlet-consuming one)
- Flair Neo, Flair’s new entry-level espresso maker (see the obligatory James Hoffmann review), although you should spend the extra $40 to get the original if you want to go that route
- Aeropress (another great way to brew espresso-style coffee)