Are you looking for ways to elevate your homemade cold coffee drinks? Start with a fast and easy coffee upgrade: cold foam. This light, airy milk foam transforms a regular iced coffee or cold brew into an artisan-quality creation.
Cold foam is the secret behind the specialty cold drinks at your favorite coffee shop. The gentle froth blends with the coffee, creating a smooth, creamy texture.
You don’t need to be a trained barista to master the art of foam — in fact, you probably have the supplies in your kitchen. A few minutes is all it takes to whip up a batch of the foam for Sunday brunch or a weekday-morning treat.
What is Cold Foam?
Cold foam is cold, frothy milk that’s made without heat. Instead, you agitate the milk to create air bubbles. The result has a fluffy and creamy consistency. Since it’s not warm, you can add cold foam to iced coffee without changing the temperature. Coffee shops like Starbucks add cold foams to cold brew coffees, iced coffees, and other specialty iced drinks.
Cold foam is remarkably versatile. Make it with regular milk, low-fat milk, half and half, sweet cream, or heavy cream. If you’re cutting calories, use nonfat milk. Add a few drops of vanilla syrup, honey, or simple syrup to replicate your favorite seasonal coffee drink.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
Are you wondering how to make cold foam at home? We’ve got your back — this easy recipe will have you feeling like a barista in no time. You’ll love it because it’s:
- Fast – The entire process takes less than 5 minutes.
- Easy – You can make the cold foam with supplies you already have in the house.
- Affordable – There’s no need for unique ingredients or tools.
- Customizable – It’s a breeze to tailor the recipe to meet your dietary needs, taste preferences, and available ingredients.
How to Make Cold Foam (Step-by-Step Instructions)
Before you get started, scroll down to check out the different equipment options — you can make cold foam using a wide range of tools. Regardless of your method, the ingredients are the same, and the process is similar.
- 1/2 cup milk
- One tablespoon sweetener (optional)
- Flavoring (optional)
The ingredients for a cold foam recipe can be as straightforward or as complex as you like. The only required component is milk. Use any milk or cream that’s in your refrigerator; plant-based milk also works well. The milk you use will affect the resulting foam.
When selecting milk, keep the following factors in mind:
Fat content: High-fat milk creates tiny bubbles, which gives the foam a smooth, velvety texture. Lower-fat milk will create slightly larger bubbles that pop faster. This is merely a matter of preference; the taste will be the same.
Freshness: Whenever possible, use fresh milk; it will stay frothy for longer. You can undoubtedly use older milk, but the foam will be less voluminous.
Type: Dairy milk tends to produce the best foam. If you prefer plant milk, expect to spend more time on the frothing process. Some grocery stores sell barista-style plant milk; they tend to froth faster.
Do you like sweet or flavored drinks? Customize the cold foam with add-in ingredients. For a sweet drink, add in a few drops of simple syrup or flavored syrup. If you want to add sugar, allow it to dissolve entirely into the cold milk first. Otherwise, the sugar crystals can compromise the foam. Add flavor with vanilla extract, honey, turmeric, cocoa, or cinnamon.
In the fall, try a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice. For professional-quality cold brews, make your simple flavored syrups by simmering water, sugar, and the herb or extract of your choice.
- Add cold milk: Pour the milk into your blender, milk frother, French press, or jar. If you’re using a handheld frother, put the milk in a cup.
- Add sweetener or flavoring: If you’re using sweeteners or flavorings, pour them on the milk.
- Froth the milk: Use your chosen tool to agitate the milk. This process takes about 15-60 seconds, depending on the method. Stop when the milk has all been turned into foam, and there’s no liquid at the bottom.
- Pour the foam over your drink: Add your ice and coffee to a cup. Pour the cold foam over the coffee. The foam will slowly work its way into the coffee, leaving a creamy layer on the surface.
Cold foam is remarkably easy to make, whether or not you have artisan coffee equipment on hand. If you don’t have a milk frother, use a jar with a lid. Every tool creates a slightly different type of foam, so you might need to experiment to find your preferred consistency.
How to Make Cold Foam Using a Handheld Milk Frother
A handheld milk frother is like a miniature immersion blender. It features a small, spinning whisk mounted on the end of a slim post.
When using a frother, pour the milk into a relatively tall glass or jar. This prevents splashing if you lift the whisk too close to the surface. Keep in mind that the foam will expand to twice the volume of the milk. To prevent the foam from spilling over the sides, make sure the container is no more than half full.
When you’re ready to make the foam, lower the frother into the milk. Once the whisk is submerged, press the button to turn it on. Move the frother up and down and side to side for approximately 10-15 seconds.
How to Make Cold Foam Using a Jar
A jar is a convenient solution if you need a fast, budget-friendly way to make cold milk foam. Any clean jar will do, as long as it has a tight-fitting lid.
Add milk to the jar until it’s about one-third full. The space is essential — it provides the air for the bubbles and room for the foam to expand. Close the lid tightly. Shake the jar hard, moving up and down and side to side. If one arm gets tired, switch to the opposite arm and keep moving; the longer you pause, the faster the foam starts to settle.
Keep shaking your jar until the foam is about twice the volume as the milk. This type of foam tends to shrink quickly, so it’s essential to use it right away.
How to Make Cold Foam with a French Press
A French press is an easy way to make smooth, velvety foam. The secret is the screen — since it has a uniform grid of holes, it creates evenly sized bubbles. This method requires a bit of physical exertion, but the resulting foam has an exceptionally creamy consistency.
Pour milk into your French press until it’s no more than one-third full. Insert the plunger, and push the screen to the bottom. Grasp the handle of the plunger with your dominant hand, and hold the carafe firmly with the other.
Move the plunger up and down quickly. With each stroke, make sure the screen travels from the top of the liquid to the bottom for maximum aeration. Stop when the milk doubles in volume. If you’re using half and half or heavy cream, this process takes about 45 seconds. For skim milk, expect to plunge the press for a full minute.
After you pour the foam over your coffee, rinse out the French press immediately with hot water. This removes the milk residue before it can dry, making cleaning a breeze. If the milk sits for too long, it tends to get stuck in the tiny holes of the French press screen.
How to Make Cold Foam with a Milk Frother
If you love high-end coffee drinks, you probably have a standalone electric milk frother in your kitchen. This is the fastest and easiest way to make cold foam — as long as the frother has a cold mode.
To make cold foam with a frother, add one or more cups of cold milk to the container. There’s no need to measure; most frothers have max-fill marks on the inside of the container. Switch the unit into a cold-foam mode, and press the start button. Most models will shut off automatically when frothing is complete.
Are you making coffee drinks for multiple people? If everyone prefers cold foam, there’s no need to rinse out the frother between batches. If you’re also using the hot foam mode, it’s a good idea to rinse out the frother before and after. That way, you can prevent the milk residue from burning.
How to Make Cold Foam for Coffee: Final thoughts
Cold foam is a quick and easy way to take your cold brew coffee to the next level. It adds a smooth, velvety quality to any cold drink. In just a few minutes, you can impress guests or treat yourself to a barista-quality beverage — all in the comfort of your kitchen.