Bodum Milk Frother Review: Can It Make A Latte?
Making your favorite cafe-inspired drinks at home doesn’t have to involve an expensive espresso machine and a professional barista’s skills. It can be as easy and affordable as a coffee maker paired with an electric milk frother – assuming you have the right milk frother for the job.
The Bodum Milk Frother is one of the market’s most basic and inexpensive models. So does it have the chops to make your perfect cup? Let’s look at what it can and can’t do.
Summary: The Bodum Bistro Milk Frother
- Simple and compact electric milk frother
- Froths and heats milk to 158 °F
- Includes auto-off and automatic keep warm functions
It foamed oat milk with the perfect amount of foam on top, and it was much easier to have my milk warmed and frothed in one step.– Customer
The Full Bodum Bistro Electric Milk Frother Review
This review will look in detail at the Bodum 11870-01US Bistro Electric Milk Frother, which is the most basic of the Bodum electric milk frother line-up. It offers a single program for heating and frothing milk. Confusingly, there is another Bodum Bistro Milk Frother. If you’re interested in a more advanced option, the next step up is the Bodum Bistro Barista 11901, which adds programs for cold frothing and hot chocolate.
With that clarification out of the way, let’s dig into what it’s like to own and operate the Bodum Bistro Electric Milk Frother.
Design – 4/5
The first thing you’ll notice about the Bodum Bistro frother is its compact design. This is one of the smallest electric milk frothers on the market, measuring just 4.38 x 5.63 x 7.88 inches and coming in well under 2 pounds. It’s an easy addition to an office or dorm room.
Adding to its space-saving nature is the convenient cord storage in the removable base. So you can keep it displayed on your counter or desk without adding to the coffee clutter.
It has a sleek design, stainless steel body, non-stick interior, and matte black exterior. It has only one button at the base, which glows red during operation. The clear Tritan lid fits snugly and lets you watch the action inside as it froths.
Features – 3/5
The Bodum Bistro Electric Milk Frother has few features, and this simplicity is part of its appeal.
This milk frother can heat and froth cold milk to a temperature of 158 °F using the frothing whisk. Or it can heat milk to the same temperature without frothing. Either cycle takes about a minute to complete, and you can do up to 10 ounces of milk at a time. This is more than enough for a large cappuccino or hot chocolate.
It doesn’t offer any control over the frothed milk texture or temperature. As soon as you press the power button, the cold milk heats to 158 °F.
This is actually the upper end of recommended milk temperatures for coffee drinks, just cool enough to avoid scalding. The SCA suggests a temperature of between 130 and 150 °F for optimal sweetness, but Bodum has opted to err on the side of the many consumers who enjoy a hotter coffee (1). If you prefer the more traditional flavor of 140-degree milk, you can stop the cycle early or let it sit for a minute or two before adding it to your coffee. However, this will impact the airiness of the froth.
Any extra programs?
There is only one frothing whisk and one program, so you get the same long-lasting milk froth every time. This frother delivers luxuriously thick cappuccino-style foam, but there is no way to make the smoother microfoam that characterizes a latte. If you were hoping to practice pouring latte art, you will be disappointed. This is more of a spoonable foam. You also can’t make a cold froth for iced coffee.
The Bodum Bistro Electric Milk Frother has two additional automated features that are particularly handy on busy mornings. First of all, it stops automatically when it reaches the correct temperature. Even if you get distracted, you don’t need to worry about overheating your milk, which experts will tell you is a recipe for coffee drink disaster (2).
Overheated milk makes it impossible to taste the subtle flavours of your coffee and can burn your mouth. The milk can also develop a sulphurous smell and flavour during prolonged heat treatment.
The auto shut-off also spares you the even worse issue of boiling the milk dry, which would be both a potential safety hazard and a cleaning nightmare.
The second feature is more surprising given this machine’s low price point. The Bodum Bistro Frother has an automatic reheat function that I haven’t seen in any other frother. If it senses that the temperature of the milk has dropped below 122 °F, it automatically turns on to reheat the milk to the ideal point.
All in all, this is a great frother for those harried mornings when you have a hundred things on the go. You can make breakfast, brew coffee, get the kids ready for school, feed the dog, and still trust that your perfectly frothy milk will be waiting.
Ease of Use – 4.5/5
The Bodum Bistro Electric Milk Frother is very straightforward, with just a single button. Plug it in, attach the frothing whisk, pour in cold milk, and firmly attach the lid. Press the power button to start frothing. The rest is automated. The heavy-duty motor will continue frothing until the temperature hits the set point and then turn off automatically.
Making hot cocoa or warm milk is even easier; complete the same steps without attaching the frothing whisk. Bodum also suggests this method for making the creamier milk you need for a latte, but don’t expect this frother to yield the silky texture you enjoy at the cafe.
You can also use it with non-dairy milk alternatives, such as coconut, oat, or soy, but the cycle is optimized for dairy milk.
This Bodum Bistro milk frother isn’t dishwasher safe because the interior cup in which the milk froths is not removable, but the non-stick coating interior makes it easy to hand wash. A quick rinse with warm water and soap will do the trick, and no scrubbing is required.
Value for Money – 4/5
The Bodum Bistro Electric Milk Frother is one of the simplest electric frothers available, but it’s also one of the least expensive. So I think the features and quality are nicely balanced with the price. A comparable frother, the Nespresso Aeroccino, is more than double the price.
There have been some complaints from users that the spinning mechanism breaks down. This doesn’t seem to be a systemic issue – we haven’t had any problems – but more the result of a few duds leaving the factory. The 2-year manufacturer’s warranty should provide peace of mind in this regard. Plus, the durable stainless steel build can handle a bit of a beating.
The only way to froth milk more affordably is to opt for a handheld frother such as the Bodum Schiuma, which is more like a battery-operated whisk. Or you can choose a manual frother, like the Bodum Latteo, which has a design reminiscent of a French press. These options are less expensive, but they don’t heat the milk. So unless you want to make cold foam, you’ll need to add a heating step using the microwave or stovetop.
Things we liked:
- Automatic shut-off and automatic keep warm
- Non-stick interior for easy cleaning
- Durable stainless steel body with cord storage
- Affordable price
Things we didn’t like:
- No control over milk texture
- No control over milk temperature
- Not dishwasher safe
Don’t Buy The Bodum Bistro Electric Milk Frother If…
You want to control milk temperature: If you want the ease of an electric milk frother but with a degree of control more akin to a steam wand, the Breville BMF600xl Milk Cafe milk frother stands head and shoulders above the rest. You can set a specific temperature between 100 and 180 °F. And it includes two frothing discs – one for latte and one for cappuccino. The Milk Cafe is significantly larger and more expensive than the Bodum Bistro, but it’s our best-rated milk frother for a good reason.
If you just want the option to froth hot or cold milk, a more compact and affordable pick is the Nespresso Aeroccino 3 or 4.
Style is important to you: If you want a milk frother that’s equal parts appliance and design icon, the Smeg milk frother delivers. The Smeg retro-style milk frother features the same aesthetic as the rest of the brand’s popular line of home appliances (3). It’s available in a collection of fun colors and is guaranteed to be a showpiece on your counter. It is significantly pricier than most milk frothers, but along with great style, it offers six pre-programmed cycles to provide plenty of control over your milk temperature and texture.
You want a cheaper option: The Bodum Bistro Electric Milk Frother is one of the cheapest electric frothers available from a reliable brand. I wouldn’t advise buying anything much cheaper, especially if it lacks a good warranty. However, you can save money by opting for a handheld frother like the battery-operated Bodum Schiuma milk frother or by choosing a manual option like the Bodum Latteo milk frother. Just plan on heating the milk separately before you froth.
I started this review by asking if this milk frother could make a latte. And the honest answer is no. The Bodum Bistro Electric Milk Frother is an excellent option if you’re looking for a basic milk frother to deliver a warm, airy froth suitable for a cappuccino or similar coffeehouse specialty. It’s durable, affordable, and easy to use. However, if lattes are your favorite, I’d suggest a milk frother like the Breville Milk Cafe that offers more control over milk texture.
- Korhonen, J. (2022, June 6). 5 Easy Tips That Will Make Your Latte Art Flourish. Retrieved from https://www.baristainstitute.com/blog/jori-korhonen/june-2022/5-easy-tips-will-make-your-latte-art-flourish
- Klimanova, Y. (2019, February 6). What Should Your Cappuccino Milk Temperature Be? Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2019/02/what-temperature-should-your-cappuccino-milk-be/
- Fuso, L. (2020, July 14). ‘Technology with style’: know-how and creativity are Smeg solution for the best home experience. Retrieved from https://designwanted.com/brand-story-smeg/