Bellman Stovetop Steamer: Steam Milk The Easy Way!
There’s no real substitute for the silky smooth texture of perfectly steamed milk. Milk frothers try their best, but the result just isn’t the same. And buying an entire espresso machine only for its steam wand is overkill. What’s a steamed milk lover to do?
The Bellman Stovetop Steamer is the perfect solution – a standalone milk steamer that works on your stovetop. Read on for a detailed expert review of this innovative product.
Summary: The Bellman Stovetop Steamer
- Standalone stovetop milk steaming wand
- Made from durable stainless steel and bakelite
- The perfect companion for a manual espresso maker or Moka pot
This stand-alone steamer does a great job steaming and frothing milk. Easy to set up and it produces abundant steam for specialty coffees.– Customer
The Full Bellman Stovetop Steamer Review
The recent popularity of barebones espresso makers like the Flair, Cafelat Robot, and Rok has made it easier and more affordable to make cafe-quality espresso right in your home. But what about a cafe-quality latte? That’s where the Bellman milk steamer comes in. Whether you have a simple espresso machine or want to steam milk for your morning coffee, this standalone milk steamer is the tool for the job (1).
Design – 4/5
The Bellman Stovetop Steamer 50SS (aka Bellman Stovetop Steamer CX25S) is a cute and compact device, measuring 6.7” by 8.5” by 8” and weighing under 3 pounds. It’s made from high-grade stainless steel, which gives it great durability and a polished aesthetic. Similarly, the black bakelite knob and handle are made to last.
The compact design of this steamer doesn’t just make it easy to stash in your kitchen; it’s also great for camping and travel. The durable build means it can withstand the rigors of the road or trail. And it operates without batteries or electricity. Paired with the equally travel-friendly Flair espresso maker, you can enjoy high-quality milk-based espresso drinks anywhere.
Features – 3.5/5
The Bellman milk steamer isn’t full of features, but that’s part of its appeal. It’s simple to operate, and there is nothing to break. It does exactly what it needs to do and does it well.
It operates on a principle similar to a Moka pot, using the stovetop – or any heat source – to boil water to create steam (2). It takes around four minutes for it to heat to a steaming temperature. You can speed the process by using boiling water in the reservoir, but I found that heating from cold gave me the perfect amount of time to pull an espresso shot.
The steam wand is equipped with a two-hole steam tip, and steam pressure is controlled by the knob on top. While it doesn’t have the high power of a prosumer espresso machine, it has sufficient pressure to achieve the silky smooth textured milk needed for latte art. Impressively, you can even prepare two drinks in a row before you run out of steam.
A pressure-release safety valve ensures you never worry about dangerous pressure build-up.
The only feature it lacks that I’d like to see is a pressure gauge. Monitoring the steam pressure while you texture milk is a good way to master the skill and improve your consistency.
Ease of Use – 4/5
Using the Bellman milk steamer is on par with using any steaming wand. If you’ve never tried making steamed milk, achieving the perfect texture may take some practice. But once you’ve mastered the technique, creating professionally steamed milk is simple.
Fill the water reservoir, assemble the steamer, and set it on your stovetop over medium-high heat while you prepare the coffee or espresso. The Bellman milk steamer works with gas, electric, ceramic, and induction cooktops. You’ll know it’s ready to go when you see steam coming out of the steam valve and hear a steady hiss. Submerge the tip of the double nozzle steam wand in a milk frothing pitcher, and turn the knob on top to start steaming.
The bakelite knob and handles stay cool throughout the heating and steaming process, but beware that the metal components can get very hot.
The best results are achieved with dairy milk with at least 1.5% milk fat, which is true of any milk-steaming system. It has the best balance of fats and proteins (3).
With reasonable fat content you will gain nice and shiny microfoam, and it is easier for you to pour latte art.
The Bellman steamer is equally compatible with non-dairy milk alternatives. Simply adjust your technique to compensate for the different milk compositions.
How To Clean Bellman Stovetop Steamer
After each use, purge the steam wand to clean milk from the steam tube. Then let the machine body cool completely before taking it apart. You can speed the cooling process by running it under cold water.
The milk steamer wand may become clogged. In this case, try using a needle or toothpick to remove the clog. If that doesn’t work, it is more likely due to a build-up of milk or limescale. Use a specialized product like Urnex Rinza Steam Wand Cleaner to clean it following the manufacturer’s directions. Using filtered or distilled water in your Bellman Stovetop Steamer will help avoid the build-up of scale.
Value for Money – 4/5
The Bellman Stovetop Steamer retails for just over $100, a remarkable value compared to the competition. Because the Bellman is the only standalone steamer on the market, your only other option is to buy a complete espresso machine equipped with a steam wand. And even a poor-quality espresso machine is likely to be triple the cost.
Adding to the value is the fact that the Bellman milk steamer is built to last. The stainless steel build and lack of electrical parts mean you can expect ten years or more of loyal service – far exceeding the lifespan of a cheap automatic espresso machine. Plus, most Bellman parts are sold separately, so if something breaks, you need not buy a whole new one.
Things We Liked:
- Makes great steamed milk without an espresso machine
- Easy to use and clean
- Durable stainless steel build
- Suitable for travel and camping
Things We Didn’t Like:
- No pressure gauge
- Doesn’t work on some induction cooktops
Don’t Buy The Bellman Stovetop Steamer If…
- You want something more hands-off: If you don’t want to learn the art of steaming milk, you’ll enjoy an automatic milk frother like the Breville Milk Cafe Frother. This sleek Bellman Stovetop Steamer alternative can froth milk hot or cold at the touch of a button. But don’t expect the micro foam you need for pouring complex art on your coffee and tea lattes.
- You also want to make espresso: Buying an espresso machine that can do both makes sense if you need a way to make espresso AND steam milk. Check out our picks for top espresso machine models, including the Breville Barista Express, Breville Infuser, and Rancilio Silvia.
- You want a more affordable option: You won’t get steamed milk any cheaper than this. However, there are plenty of more affordable handheld and electric milk frothers on the market, like the MatchaDNA handheld frother, which can froth hot or cold milk.
The Bellman Stovetop Steamer is a wonderful product I am happy to recommend, provided you fall into its target audience. It produces creamy café-quality drinks, and the durable build and simple design make it an incredible value.
Given that it has no competition, Bellman could have let the quality slide and probably still profited. In my tests, I was pleased to find that this is not the case.
- Stanley, Z. (2022, October 31). Exploring the evolution of milk foaming technology in the coffee industry. Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2022/10/the-evolution-of-milk-foaming-technology-in-coffee/
- Bialetti. (n.d.). How the Moka works: lift the lid and discover all its secrets. Retrieved from https://www.bialetti.com/it_en/inspiration/post/how-the-moka-works
- Makela, K. (2020, July 21). Steaming Milk – Theory Behind the Microfoam. Retrieved from https://www.baristainstitute.com/blog/karoliina-makela/july-2020/steaming-milk-theory-behind-microfoam