Cold foam is quickly becoming a favorite among coffee enthusiasts and casual drinkers, thanks to its velvety texture and the growing popularity of cold coffee drinks such as lattes, cold brews, and iced teas in trendy cafés. Characterized by its light and airy consistency, cold foam adds a luxurious element to beverages without significantly increasing their calorie content.
Whether you’re a long-time fan of this foamy creation or simply curious to try it, you’ll be excited to know that making cold foam at home is simple.
This guide will detail how to make cold foam, explore various ways to incorporate it into your drinks, and suggest exciting flavor variations to level up your coffee experience.
What is Cold Foam?
Cold foam is basically a fancy name for frothed milk, but it has a distinct preparation method that sets it apart from the foam used in hot beverages like cappuccinos or hot chocolate. The critical difference lies in the preparation. Cold foam is created without the use of heat or steam.
If you top a cold drink with hot foam, you’re in for a bit of a letdown – it quickly turns into a watery mess. This is precisely where the charm of cold foam comes into play.
Cold foam is created without heat and boasts a thick, creamy texture reminiscent of meringue, making it the perfect topping for any cold coffee beverage. When added to a drink, it sits pretty on top, slowly blending with each sip, creating the ideal coffee-sipping experience.
Making cold foam at home doesn’t require much, but a few selective tools can make the process much easier.
Milk: To create cold foam, you’ll need some sort of milk. We’ll detail the different types below.
Cold brew coffee: This acts as the base for the cold foam to sit upon. However, any chilled beverage will work if you prefer a non-coffee option.
Cold foam can be made with a variety of tools. Here are some of the most popular options:
Handheld milk frother: This is a small, typically battery-powered kitchen gadget that you can get for around $10. Considering the cost of a Starbucks order, including a cold foam topping, this device quickly pays for itself. This option provides the most value for making cold foam for the cost and size.
Electric milk frother and steamer: This device is much larger than the handheld frother and sits on your kitchen countertop, similar to an electric kettle in appearance. Electric frothers offer hot and cold foam options, but this feature also comes at about three to four times the cost of a handheld frother.
French press: If you own a French press, using this device will save you money and the space needed to store another device. It’s a bit of a hack to use a French press to make cold foam, but it can be done by pouring milk into the beaker and then plunging back and forth for about 45 seconds to create a foamy consistency.
Whisk: A good old kitchen whisk can also make cold foam for anyone who wants an arm workout. This is certainly a budget-friendly option since you likely already own a whisk, but make no mistake- it’s laborious. The foam will have larger air bubbles, making it less stiff and creamy than the other options.
To create the perfect cold foam, start with cold, fresh milk. Then, froth the milk using your preferred frothing tool from the options above.
Both handheld and electric frothers are efficient, typically taking just around 20 seconds to whip up the foam, whereas a French press or whisk will take 45 seconds or more.
Once your foam is ready, delicately spoon it over your cold brew coffee or any other chilled coffee beverage. If you’re feeling fancy, top it off with a sprinkle of cinnamon or some chocolate shavings, and enjoy a coffeehouse drink for a fraction of the price.
Emily Dingmann of My Everyday Table loves using vanilla paste, which she says is superior to vanilla extract, and heavy whipping cream for an easy sweet cream cold foam that she spoons over cold brew.
The Best Type of Milk to Make Cold Foam
Contrary to what you might think, cold foam is best made using non-fat milk. This is true for hot foam as well. By default, non-fat or lower-fat milk options contain higher amounts of protein. Protein gives the foam structure, so the more of it you have, the better the foam holds together. Skim milk will produce the best outcome when making cold foam, but 1% will also work well enough.
Plant-based milks are a bit hit or miss when creating cold foam. While they can be great substitutes for milk in other applications like smoothies, it’s best to stick to dairy milk for the best cold foam results. Often, plant-based milks include other additives, gums, and preservatives that interfere with the frothing process.
Different Ways to Use Cold Foam
Now that you’ve mastered how to make cold foam, there’s a whole world of possibilities for using this creamy, indulgent topping. Here are some beverages that would be perfectly complemented by a cold foam topper:
- Iced coffee and any variation thereof
- Cold brew coffee
- Iced espresso
- Iced cappuccino
- Iced lattes, including matcha and chai lattes
- Iced hot chocolate
- Iced tea
Beyond drinks, cold foam is also an excellent option for those looking for a decadent topping lower in calories. Consider adding cold foam on top of these treats, too:
- Ice cream
- Creamy coffee cocktails
- Pudding and chia pudding
- Fruit salad
Why is my foam flat?
There are a couple of ways the cold foam-making process can go wrong and result in flat foam.
Be sure always to use fresh, very cold milk. If the milk has been opened for a week, chances are it won’t froth well.
Over or under-frothing are also common mistakes. Using an electric frother will eliminate this issue, but if you’re making the cold foam by hand with a handheld frother, French press, or whisk, it’s possible you didn’t froth it long enough or went too long. Finding the sweet spot with each device can take trial and error, so don’t get discouraged if your first attempt isn’t perfect.
Can you make cold foam with creamer?
This depends on the type of creamer you have. Like plant-based milks, some creamers will work better than others. It comes down to whether the other ingredients will interfere with the frothing process.
Can you store cold foam?
Once the milk has been frothed into a cold foam, it should be used, not stored. Cold foam won’t hold its structure or shape over long periods, so only froth the foam you plan to use.
Can you make cold foam without a frother?
Making cold foam without a frother is possible, just not as easy. As detailed above, the French press and whisk options let you create cold foam without using a frother. Be prepared for some extra work, and know that your foam may not have the same texture as otherwise, but it can be done in a pinch.
Become Your Own Barista
Mastering the art of making cold foam is like unlocking a secret level in your coffee-making game. You can save some cash by skipping the coffee shop line and bringing that fancy, café-style vibe into your own kitchen with your pajamas still on.
Play around with different flavors – maybe a dash of vanilla, a sprinkle of cinnamon, or a flavored syrup if you’re really fancy. With some practice and creativity, your morning cup of coffee may become a work of art—happy brewing and frothing.
This article originally appeared on Pink When.