Whether due to lactose intolerance or vegan choice, leaving cow’s milk behind is a very important step. We have long built diets and a way of life around cow’s milk products, and while it may seem difficult at first, there are many alternatives thanks to plant-based milk, of which almond milk is one of the richest and most versatile.
Consuming almond milk in its liquid state does not present many drawbacks, but frothing this milk to combine it with coffee is another story. No doubt, once you master the technique, the froth created from almond milk will elevate your coffee to the next level. Coffee drinks with almond milk are delicious as well as full of nutrients.
- 1 How is it made, and what is almond milk?
- 2 The difference between good milk froth and bad milk foam
- 3 Difficulty when frothing almond milk
- 4 How to froth almond milk
- 5 How to froth almond milk step by step
How is it made, and what is almond milk?
As with other vegetable milk, the consumer has two options; on the one hand, to buy the milk already packaged, and on the other hand, to buy the almonds and make the milk oneself. Either way, you will be drinking natural milk in both cases, with a creamy texture and a unique flavour.
If you make your almond milk at home, you will be getting a very natural product with no additives other than a little vanilla extract or cinnamon. If you opt for pre-packaged almond milk, check the labelling because each brand is different.
In short, almond milk is nothing more than ground almonds mixed with water, being a very important source of vegetable fats and carbohydrates, ideal for vegans or lactose-intolerant people.
The difference between good milk froth and bad milk foam
In the previous articles, we have already explained how to froth soy milk and how to froth oat milk and that the secret between a good froth and a bad one is the elasticity of the microbubbles we create in the milk.
Creating microbubbles is a simple process; we just need to add air to the milk with the help of some utensils; however, making those microbubbles elastic for a long time is a bit more difficult.
For the microbubbles to remain close together and elastic, we need the proteins in the almond milk to embrace this air with the heat. Different types of milk have different amounts of proteins, which are essential for creating froth. In some cases, such as almond milk, the presence of quality, temperature-resistant proteins are scarce, so obtaining a quality froth will be relatively difficult.
When frothing milk, we will look for bubbles so small that they are invisible to the eye and so cohesive that the froth lasts until the last sip of our drink despite mixing with coffee. If a froth lasts until the end of the cup, it will be a quality froth.
Difficulty when frothing almond milk
Cow’s milk is undoubtedly the best milk for frothing, as its high content of heat-resistant proteins and the help of animal fats make this milk ideal for frothing. Just what makes cow’s milk ideal for frothing makes almond milk deficient for frothing, i.e. the lack of temperature-resistant proteins does not allow for good cohesion and elasticity of the microbubbles.
One of the strengths of almond milk is the abundant presence of vegetable fats, which are also necessary for the elasticity of the microbubbles. Still, the lack of proteins hinders the process. Therefore, when using almond milk for frothing, we should always look for the most expected and textured milk possible.
Very runny almond milk is synonymous with a high presence of water in the mixture, and water does not froth. Always look for the freshest and densest milk possible for frothing. If you use commercial brands, it is recommended that you try different types until you find the most suitable for your purpose.
Using almond milk with additives
Many packaged vegetable milk is special barista milk, i.e. they contain natural additives that make the almond milk denser and increase the protein content. Often, other vegetable oils, such as rapeseed oil, will give that extra elasticity to the micro-bubbles that we create during the frothing process.
Below is an example of special almond milk for baristas:
How to froth almond milk
We have given you the main keys to quality frothing with almond milk with all that we have said so far. We have already talked about the presence of proteins and their resistance to temperature, the density of the milk and the amount of fat present. With these three factors under control, we will be able to froth almond milk like true professionals.
1. Control the temperature when frothing almond milk
When we were talking about soy milk, we recommended frothing with very cold milk because of the risk of producing too much froth in too little time and that; if it gets too hot, the milk could cut when it comes into contact with the coffee. We are in a similar situation with almond milk, although not as critical.
It is advisable to start frothing with the milk at room temperature as it can be difficult to froth with very cold almond milk. However, you still have to be careful not to raise the temperature too much so that the almond milk does not curdle in contact with the coffee. Also, if you raise the temperature too high, you could burn the milk, leaving an unpleasant taste.
2. Use thicker almond milk to froth the coffee
Another of the determining factors we have already mentioned is how liquid our milk will be. If milk is too liquid, we will be dissolving more of the proteins and fats, which will make it more difficult to generate a quality, long-lasting froth.
If you use packaged almond milk, try different brands until you find the thickest one. The thicker the milk, the easier it will be to froth.
3. Choose higher protein almond milk
Almonds are high in fat and carbohydrates but low in protein. This protein shortage becomes even more noticeable when we turn almonds into milk and compare it to cow’s milk.
Although it may seem strange, you will find almond milk with more or less protein on the market, so you should always opt for almond milk with a higher percentage. If you make your milk at home, try to add less water to the mixture to increase the protein percentage.
How to froth almond milk step by step
Now that you have all the information you need to froth almond milk, we would like to give you a step-by-step guide on how to froth almond milk using different methods. Below, you will learn how to froth almond milk with Aeroccino, a steam wand, and an electric hand frother.
How to froth almond milk with Aeroccino
The most effective method for frothing any milk is an Aeroccino or similar. These devices froth any milk in seconds and without effort. Therefore, it is especially interesting for frothing almond milk, one of the most difficult vegetable milk to froth due to its lack of protein.
- Stir your almond milk well, whether it is natural or bottled. The more homogeneous the milk, the better it will froth.
- Add your milk into the Aeroccino. It is always advisable to fill slightly less than you would with cow’s milk.
- Select the lowest temperature setting and use the smallest frothing attachment. Excessive heat may cause the milk to curdle in contact with the coffee.
- Stop the Aeroccino as soon as the desired froth is achieved. Overworking the milk can create too much froth, which will ruin your final coffee drink.
- When pouring over the coffee, pour decisively so that the milk is well incorporated into the coffee.
Related: Aeroccino troubleshooting
Frothing almond milk with a steam wand
Frothing with steam requires a bit of mastery of the technique, as it is not as straightforward as the Aeroccino. However, if you work the almond milk well, you can get a good result. Don’t throw in the towel if you find it difficult the first few times.
- Stir the milk well before you start frothing. We want the milk to be very homogeneous.
- Pour the milk at room temperature into a metal milk jug. Very cold almond milk can be difficult to froth.
- Insert the wand a centimetre below the surface without removing it. We want to create as many bubbles as possible without making them too big.
- Open the steam outlet almost completely, as we don’t want to heat up too quickly.
- In the case of almond milk, it is very important to create a vortex that will help us create microbubbles.
- Once you have the desired froth, you can remove the wand. Remember that you don’t want to froth too much or increase the temperature too much.
How to froth almond milk with an electric hand frother
Electric hand frothers are the most affordable, although they are not the best for achieving the dense, long-lasting froth we want. However, with a little practice, we can achieve really surprising results.
- Mix the milk to be frothed well. The almonds and water may not be evenly mixed.
- Slightly heat the milk in a microwave.
- Add the almond milk to a metal milk jug. Fill the jug 1/3 full.
- Insert the frother in but not touch the base of the jug.
- Turn the frother on and off for about 20-30 seconds. This way, we can determine the consistency of the froth we are achieving.
- During the process, you can move the frother up and down slightly to increase the amount of air that penetrates the milk.
- Once you have reached the desired texture, stir the milk into the coffee with determination to be well incorporated.