When you buy a latte or cappuccino at a coffee shop, it’s always dressed with a nice frothy head of milk foam. That foam comes from aerating the milk with a blast of superheated air from a steam nozzle. If you buy an espresso machine of sufficient fanciness for your home, it may have an attached steam nozzle. With some practice, you might even learn how to use it without without spraying hot milk all over yourself.
But does that mean you can’t have foamy milk unless you have an espresso machine? And what if you’re a tea-drinker, like I am?
Fortunately, you can easily steam milk at home using nothing but a sealed microwave-safe container (say, a BPA-free cup with a lid) and a microwave. Simply fill the container with your milk, shake vigorously until it foams, and then immediately microwave until hot (usually less than a minute). The foam will solidify and remain on top as the milk heats. Then, carefully pour the milk so the foam floats on top of the milk and onto your coffee. (You can spoon the rest of the foam onto your drink if you prefer.) This even works with soy milk, and there’s no messy milk spray if you mess up.
Sprinkle some cinnamon or mocha on top and you’ll have a cup of joe worthy of a barista.
Note: Reader @hornbeck suggests removing the lid on the cup before microwaving. Her lid blew off during cooking! We’ve never had that happen, but it sounds like a great suggestion to us. The lid is important for shaking purposes; it’s not important for microwaving.