The Best Milk Frothing Pitcher for Latte Art
If you’re a latte lover, you know the value of perfectly steamed milk, that silky smooth texture that can be both light and creamy. And even better if it’s poured into a beautiful piece of drinkable art. Delicious!
Achieving the perfect latte requires a quality espresso machine with a steam wand, practice, and great milk frothing jug. Of the three, the frothing jug is far and away the easiest to acquire, so why not start there?
We’ve compiled a list of the eight best milk frothing pitchers on the market. Use this guide to find the right one, and you’ll be pouring perfect rosettas in no time.
At A Glance:
The 8 Best Milk Frothing Pitchers in 2022
Once upon a time, I believed that most latte art pitchers were created equal. Boy, was I wrong. Aside from all stainless steel, these 8 top-rated frothing jugs have their own selling point. One is the best pitcher for you, whether you want precision, style, or capacity.
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|Subminimal FlowTip Jug||
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|Barista Basics Frothing Pitcher||
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|JoeFrex Milk Steaming Pitcher||
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|Espro Toroid Pitcher||
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|Motta Europa Steaming Pitcher||
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|Brewista Smart Pour Frothing Pitcher||
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|Rattleware Handle-Free Pitcher||
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It takes guts to put a new spin on something as well established as a milk frothing pitcher, but Fellow has never been a company to shy away from innovation (1). It certainly paid off with the Fellow Eddy Steaming Pitcher, our pick for the best milk frothing pitcher of the year.
The Fellow Eddy has a few unique aspects that stood out in the minds of our review team. First is the open-ended handle, a design that marries the comfort of a handled latte art pitcher with the flexibility of a handle-free model. Not to mention, it’s comfy for all hand sizes.
Then there’s the spout, which is not a spout at all but a crease that runs the entire length of the jug’s tapered body. This gives a more consistent pour as milk flows seamlessly from the bottom of the vessel to the top. The fluted tip is quite sharp, making it easy to pour professional latte art designs.
The Fellow Eddy is available in two finishes. The polished stainless steel is classic, but we were smitten with the gorgeous polished granite look. Both options have laser-etched measurements inside. The 350 ml (12-ounce) version is marked for 6, 8, and 10 ounces, and the 530 ml (18-ounce) pitcher is marked for 8, 10, and 12 ounces.
Just like the Fellow Eddy our Runner Up, the Subminimal FlowTip, represents a new breed of milk steaming pitchers. Just like the Fellow Eddy it has a straight neck that makes it instantly stand out, but it’s not just for show. It’s designed to provide a smoother experience when doing side-to-side rippling. The custom spout comes to a sharp tip only at the very end, making it more precise for those small details in latte art but still offering good milk flow.
It’s been design for both professionals and newbies alike, and is even suitable for coffee lovers without a steam wand. The jug is designed to be heated directly on gas or electric stoves, with a cool-touch ergonomic handle to let you use it right off the heat. You’ll just need a manual frother to whip up your microfoam.
If you opt for the black Teflon finish, you’ll be able to easily wipe it down after each pour. But you’ll be pleased to hear that both the black and stainless steel models are dishwasher safe.
Despite being the Home Grounds Budget Pick, there’s nothing cheap about the Barista Basics frothing pitcher. If you’re not familiar with the brand, Barista Basics makes equipment for cafes that are entirely affordable, but still meet all the needs of a professional.
In fact, you can always tell a milk frothing pitcher is made for commercial use if it’s available in sizes larger than 590 ml because it’s so rare for home users to need that much steamed milk.
These pitchers are made from 1.3 mm food grade stainless steel, which makes them not only incredibly durable, but also helps to maintain a consistent temperature. The Barista Basics own precision pour spout is a triangular shape, wide at the base and sharper at the tip to help with details. Measurements in both ounces and millimeters are marked on the inside.
To make life as a barista easier, this frothing pitcher is dishwasher safe.
It’s fun to use espresso-making accessories to add pops of colour to your espresso bar. Committing to a red espresso machine? Maybe a little intimidating. But a red milk frothing pitcher? Perfect.
For a milk frothing pitcher that skips the traditional stainless steel finish without sacrificing substance for style, we love JoeFrex.
JoeFrex offers two sizes of latte art pitcher, 350 ml and 590 ml, and both are available in red, white, black, yellow, green, and azure blue, as well as the standard stainless steel. Note that the more exciting colours are often out of stock, so you may need patience. They’re all dishwasher safe, and the coloured finishes never chip or fade after years of washing.
These latte art pitchers are equipped with relatively sharp pouring spouts, best suited to detailed designs. Unlike many on this list, they don’t feature etched measurements on the inside, so you’ll need to measure your milk separately or be confident eyeballing the correct amount.
If you’ve been having trouble nailing the perfect latte, consider trying the Espro Toroid Pitcher. It’s been designed to make it easier to produce the sense, silky microfoam needed for professional tasting cafe drinks.
The secret is in the patented wide bell shape, along with a dimple in the base, which is supposed to circulate the milk exactly where it needs to go. You no longer have to find the right angle for creating the texture you need, instead just place the steam wand straight into the middle of the pitcher and let the magic happen. For detailed latte art, there is a formed spout that comes to a sharp point at the tip.
It’s priced a little higher than some other pitchers on this list, but with a durable stainless steel construction, this could be with you for life.
Want a pro tip when it comes to buying espresso gear, be it a milk pitcher or an espresso maker? Turn to the Italians. They’ve been making espresso longer than anyone, and they know what works (4). Case in point: the Motta Europa Pitcher, developed in conjunction with the Italian Barista Association.
These pitchers, made from heavy-gauge stainless steel, are the go-to choice in Italian cafes. They’re available in four sizes, from 350 ml to a whopping 1 litre, a size unmatched by any other brand on this list.
While we love that Motta offers large capacity options for coffee shops, the smaller sizes are just as impressive for home use. They feature a wide bell bottom, which makes for easier milk frothing because you have space to develop the whirlpool needed for perfect creamy microfoam. The duck-bill-shaped pouring spout is broader than most, so these milk frothing pitchers are best suited for simple coffee art like hearts and tulips.
So you want to pour the kind of latte art that makes coffee lovers stop and stare? The kind that’s as much art as it is a latte? What kind of makes people hesitant to even drink their latte because it means destroying the masterpiece atop it? The Brewista Smart Pour is the milk pitcher for you.
The Smart Pour pitchers feature a sharper spout inspired by competition pitchers. Indeed, many competitive baristas favour this pitcher. It’s ideal for pouring detailed designs like rosettas and swans – and anything else you can dream up. There are also precise laser-etched measurement lines inside, so you never waste milk.
The precision with which it is manufactured makes this stainless steel pitcher particularly valuable to aspiring competitive latte artists. The spout-to-handle alignment and the overall roundness are accurate to within 0.5 mm, and the handle is even slightly thicker at the top for more control. These details might not matter to a novice, but if you plan to get serious about latte art, this is the right tool for the job.
Handleless milk frothing pitchers aren’t as popular among home users because they typically take more practice to master. It’s just not as intuitive to pour without a handle. However, talk to any barista who has embraced the handleless jug, and they’ll tell you there’s no going back. The ability to hold the milk jug any way, without the restriction of a handle, provides much more flexibility when creating latte art.
If you want to give handle-free milk pouring a shot, this design from Rattleware is a great starting point. The stainless steel pitcher body features a drip-resistant tapered spout explicitly designed for a consistent milk stream.
The heat-resistant rubber wrap is not only attractive, but it’s crucial for protecting your hands from heat. It does an excellent job, getting pleasantly warm as the milk steams but never approaching hot.
One downside of handle-free pitchers is that they need to be hand-washed because the wrap isn’t compatible with a dishwasher. Those with rubber wraps, like this one, are at least easier to clean than versions with leather or faux-leather wraps.
How to Choose the Best Milk Frothing Pitcher
To a newcomer, all milk-frothing pitchers look the same. But ask any professional barista, and they’re sure to have a favourite. Subtle differences like the shape of the spout or the design of the handle can greatly impact your barista skills and latte art. This buyer’s guide will help you find the perfect milk jug for making a latte at home.
The impact of spout shapes
The spout design is the part of a latte art pitcher that has the most significant impact on your latte art, especially for beginners who lack the experience of the pros. I’ve seen a skilled barista pour a gorgeous rosetta using a pyrex measuring cup, so the rules hardly apply then! But for the rest of us, choosing a convenient spout makes latte art more approachable.
We can broadly place spout styles in three categories:
- Wide spouts make it easy to pour – for lack of a better term – blobby designs like hearts and tulips. These are often the first latte art designs you learn, so these spouts are often recommended for beginners. But they’re also popular in coffee shops where complicated latte art isn’t a priority.
- A sharp and narrow spout is essential if you want to pour complex latte art with a lot of detail, like swans and rosettas (5). The sharp spout allows for the precise pouring required.
- A classic spout lies somewhere in the middle. It can be used for both styles of latte art but isn’t necessarily the best. If you’re starting on a latte art journey and not sure where you want to end up, a versatile pouring pitcher leaves you with many options.
If that seems overwhelming, take comfort knowing that a milk frothing pitcher is a VERY LOW-COMMITMENT purchase. This isn’t like choosing the best latte machine; most options on this list are affordable, at around $20. It’s okay if you change your mind, and it’s reasonable for espresso geeks to own two or more frothing pitchers for different pour styles.
The handle matters more than you think
While the way spout shape affects your latte art is obvious, it may surprise you that the handle – or lack thereof – can also play a significant role in pouring latte art. Every barista has a preference regarding how they hold their milk jug.
Handleless pitchers offer more flexibility. And they are usually held higher on the pitcher, providing more precise control of the spout.
Most handle-free pitchers include a rubber or leather wrap around the exterior to protect your hands from the heat. Note that this makes this pitcher style harder to clean because they aren’t dishwasher friendly.
Then there are some hybrid options, which are helpful in homes or cafes where a pitcher will have multiple users. For example, the Cafelat Barista pitcher has a roll top so that you can use it with or without the handle. Or the Fellow Eddy has a unique handle that is open at the bottom, allowing different grips and fitting different hand sizes comfortably.
While this may seem esoteric, pouring excellent latte art – incredibly complex designs – requires that you be comfortable in the correct arm and wrist positions. And the handle is the most significant factor dictating that comfort.
Capacity and the size of your drinks
You can find milk jugs as small as 180 ml and as large as 1 litre. But the vast majority are available in a 350-ml or 590-ml size, which is suitable for most users. The size of the milk frothing pitcher you need depends on the size of your drinks.
If the pitcher is too empty or too full, steaming milk is impossible. Too empty, and you won’t be able to submerge the tip to get the right whirlpool effect properly. Too full, and it will overflow. Indeed, understanding milk quantity is one of La Marzocco’s top tips for pouring latte art (6).
Overfilling or underfilling your pitcher with milk can throw off your flow. Try to get a feel for the size of the cup you’re pouring into and what your espresso output will be.
Usually, you want your milk pitcher between a third and half full, remembering that aerated milk increases in volume.
A 12-ounce milk jug well serves most home users unless you enjoy enormous lattes or plan on steaming milk for two drinks at a time. Professional baristas occasionally use a 590-ml or larger jug for large coffee shop drinks (7). Because you can’t underfill a steaming pitcher, buying too large of a jug means wasting milk – and no one wants that!
Small pitchers less than 300 ml are more challenging to use and thus less common with home users. However, if you like small coffee drinks like macchiatos, they are worthwhile because they avoid milk waste. Just prepare to spend time practising.
Many steaming pictures have markings inside indicating measurements or max/min fill lines. Both home coffee lovers and professional baristas benefit from these, as they avoid the need for eyeballing how much milk to use – or using a separate measuring cup – and thus minimize wasted milk or extra dishes.
Finishes and designs
Everyone knows that the best milk frothing pitchers are made from stainless steel, so you don’t need to consider alternative materials for your milk jug. You will notice some variation in the thickness of the steel, and thick walls are usually better because they maintain a more consistent temperature while steaming and last longer.
The coating on the pitcher’s exterior is more variable and is primarily an aesthetic consideration. You can decide if you want your milk pitcher to introduce a pop of colour to your morning coffee bar or if you prefer the classic stainless steel finish.
At a coffee shop or home bar where you have several milk pitchers for different types of milk, it makes sense to have different milk jugs with finishes to quickly tell them apart – black for dairy milk, white for oat milk, for example.
The right milk frothing pitcher is crucial for any barista. If you want to create the perfect creamy microfoam and pour it into captivating designs, you need the right tool.
Our favourite frothing jug this year is the Fellow Eddy. This innovative design features an open-ended handle and unique spout, making pouring latte art comfortable and easy. Our runner-up choice, the Barista Hustle Frothing Pitcher, is an attractive option for something a little more traditional.
The difference between a milk frother and a steaming pitcher is that a proper milk frother is a stand-alone device used to introduce air into the milk, usually with a whisk-like device. Some frothers are equipped with induction heaters to warm the milk. In contrast, a steaming pitcher is just a vessel that holds and pours milk, and it must be paired with a steaming wand to produce aerated warm milk.
The advantages of a milk frother are that it is easy to use and allows the option of cold froth. However, milk frothers rarely produce the silky smooth microfoam needed for latte art.
The difference between steamed and frothed milk is that it is produced using a steam wand, which injects steam into milk to heat and aerate it. Frothed milk is aerated and may or may not be heated. Generally, frothed milk is lighter and airier, while steam milk is smoother and creamier.
Microfoam is the term referring to milk that has been evenly heated and aerated to a silky smooth texture. It looks shiny and is often described as having the consistency of wet paint (8). Preparing perfect microfoam is a crucial barista skill because it is the best milk texture for pouring latte art.
- Cadwalader, Z. (2022, June 15). Fellow Secures $30 Million in Series B Funding. Retrieved from https://sprudge.com/fellow-secures-30-million-in-series-b-funding-188156.html
- Bryman, H. (2018, November 13). Fellow Partners with Barista Hustle, Makes Several Launches. Retrieved from https://dailycoffeenews.com/2018/11/13/fellow-products-partners-with-barista-hustle-makes-several-launches/
- Bryman, H. (2017, July 13). Cafelat Robot Espresso Maker To Blast Off Later This Year. Retrieved from https://dailycoffeenews.com/2017/07/13/cafelat-robot-espresso-maker-to-blast-off-later-this-year/
- Stamp, J. (2012, June 19). The Long History of the Espresso Machine. Retrieved from https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/the-long-history-of-the-espresso-machine-126012814/
- Korhonen, J. (2020, June 15). Latte Art Tutorial – How to Pour a Rosetta. Retrieved from https://www.baristainstitute.com/blog/jori-korhonen/june-2020/how-pour-latte-art-rosetta
- La Marzocco. (2019, August 22). Pro Tips for Latte Art. Retrieved from https://home.lamarzoccousa.com/pro-tips-for-latte-art/
- Weiss, S. (2016, November 17). This Man Made the World’s Largest PSL – & Drank It In Two Minutes. Retrieved from https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2016/11/130371/matt-megatoad-stonie-pumpkin-spice-latte-words-largest
- Dalla Corte. (2020, December 9). Understanding Microfoam. Retrieved from https://www.dallacorte.com/magazine-understanding-microfoam-n-532.html