The coffee industry is always booming with new and delicious options to ensure your coffee is anything but sub-par. From specialty flavors to new ways to make the classics pop, the specialty coffee world is never boring.
One of the new crazes sweeping the industry is cold foam. Cold foam can be found atop cold brew, iced coffee, and even lattes. Different from regular whipped cream, cold foam is a slightly sweetened, thick cream that makes a beverage extra creamy and delicious.
It is all good and fine to be able to go to your local shop and get your drink topped with cold foam, but wouldn’t it be even better if you could learn how to make it on your own?
Read on and learn how you can make your own yummy cold foam right in your own kitchen!
What Is Cold Foam?
When it comes to specialty coffee, there tend to be fancy ways to say very simple things. Cold foam is one of those — it may sound complicated or fancy, but when you break it down to its core, it is quite simple and easy to understand.
Before diving into how to make cold foam, let’s break down what it is and how it is different from our old friend, whipped cream.
Whipped Cream: The Original Cold Foam
Whipped cream has been in our culture for hundreds of years. Usually added on top of a classic pie or your favorite milkshake, it adds an extra level of sweetness to treats to encapsulate the experience.
Whipped cream, at its core, is made from real cream, some sugar, and lots of mixing. “Real cream” is the top layer of milk that is a little thicker in texture, and it is scraped off to be packaged separately.
Our culture might take advantage of how easily accessible whipped cream is now, but in its early beginnings, whipped cream was a delicacy created by the Viennese.
Mainly placed atop specialty pastries, whipped cream was harder to come by due to the more localized dairy industry at that time. Now, we are blessed with a booming dairy industry that enables us to have the joy of whipped cream for any occasion.
Just remember: whipped cream is not real whipped cream without real cream.
How Is Microfoam Made?
In hot beverages that include steamed milk, the milk produces a microfoam at the top of the drink. Microfoam occurs when the milk is aerated.
During the aeration process, which involves a steam wand and about 45 seconds of steaming in a whirlpool fashion, the milk expands. The expansion creates a light, airy, and creamy texture that allows the milk to have a thicker feel.
The foam makes the first sip smooth and creamy, and it usually results in a milk mustache. Lattes, cappuccinos, and macchiatos, when they are hot, contain steamed milk.
When making microfoam, there is also the option to have your milk “dry” or “wet.” “Dry” milk tends to be a lot lighter because it is aerated longer. “Wet” milk is the opposite, so there is less foam at the top, and it is more like hot milk without any real aeration.
How Can Cold Foam Have Microfoam?
Cold foam is the equivalent of the microfoam on the top of a hot latte, yet it isn’t hot because it never touches heat. When milk is steamed, hot air comes out of a steaming wand and heats the milk as well as aerating it and creating a fluffy texture.
When making cold foam, unless the milk is preheated, it should not be put into a frother warm. The milk stays cold, is mixed around until it thickens, and results in a thick and creamy beverage topper that you don’t need to fear burning your tongue on!
Cold foam is the solution for someone seeking the creamy texture of a latte without the hot flashes of a hot beverage on a hot day.
Cold Foam Saves a Hot Day
As mentioned previously, cold foam is mainly placed on top of cold brew.
However, it can also be added to your latte for the day, as well as your iced coffee. Cold foam can be sweet, or it can be just foamy milk which makes your coffee extra creamy and smooth. It tastes great either way!
The two most popular ways cold foam is flavored are either with vanilla or salted caramel. Salted caramel cold foam is delicious because the salt balances out the sweet and combines with your cold brew to help lessen the bitterness and acidity, resulting in the perfect summer sipper.
Now that we’ve learned how it works, let’s dive into how we can make it in your own kitchen!
Cold Foam at Home: Salted Caramel Style
To make your salted caramel cold foam at home, you will need the following items:
- Milk of choice (we like oat milk best) or heavy cream (results in a thicker consistency)
- Caramel cold brew
- Milk frother
- Vanilla Extract
- Caramel syrup
- ½ cup of your chosen milk
- One (8 oz) cup of cold brew
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- One teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1 ½ teaspoon of caramel syrup
First, you’ll measure out your milk.
It can be cold; no need to worry about heating it up because the frother will do all the work. Add your milk to the frother. Next, add the salt, caramel, and vanilla to the milk, and you are ready to froth!
Froth the milk until it reaches a “marshmallow fluff” texture — it should stick to your finger like a smushed s’mores. Top off your cold brew with the foam, give it a little extra caramel drizzle for fun, and enjoy your beverage!
Keep It Simple
When trying to make recipes at home, it can be overwhelming trying to follow every single step at the right time.
Coffee shouldn’t be complicated. That is why we like to keep things simple. Coffee should be easy to enjoy without any extra stress.
Cold foam on coffee is a simple way to enjoy your cold coffees without sacrificing any flavor or quality.
How To Make the Foam Less Sweet
Sugar recommendations are getting stricter, and you might be trying to create cold foam that is less sweet.
The recommended daily consumption of added sugar is only 50 grams (which equals about 12 teaspoons). For those who may not keep a close track of added sugars, which unfortunately are in almost everything, it is easy to get to that 50 grams quickly! In adding cold foam to your beverage, there are ways to make it sweet without having to add the extra calories and sugar.
For example, instead of adding the caramel to the foam, make your cold brew with Caramel Coffee Concentrate. That way, you can have all that caramel flavor without all the excess sugar. Then, to sweeten your foam, just add vanilla extract instead!
Trial and Error With Cold Foam
Reading recipes and “helpful hints” online can be aggravating. Some recipes seem simple, but if you don’t read the comment section and find someone else who had the same issue to give you the super secret trick to make your dish perfect, you end up with a failed recipe.
Coffee isn’t like that. Trying fun ways to add to your coffee experience — like cold foam — and understanding the tools of the trade shouldn’t be rocket science.
If your foam is not as thick as you want, you may want to look into either using heavy cream or half-and-half instead. If your diet is dairy-free, there are half-and-half alternatives that should work, such as oat milk which does tend to thicken well when frothed.
Other issues may be mixing in the salt for taste. If it remains gritty after frothing, try whisking it by hand before mixing it in the frother.
These are just a few little things to look out for when making your own cold foam. Otherwise, give it a try and enjoy your extra creamy cold brew!
The Perfect Summer Sipper
Cold foam is a wonderful addition to an iced beverage. It is not as sweet as regular whipped cream, nor does it dissolve into the liquid as quickly as whipped cream. The texture is thicker and creamier, and it tastes great.
Add the extra creaminess to cold brew, and you have a great pick-me-up for the day! With simple ingredients, it isn’t hard to make at home; you just need the proper tools, and you’re good to go. Enjoy your cold foam journey!
Added Sugar | The Nutrition Source | Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health
Whipped Cream or Whipped Topping? | Illinois.edu
Cream | The California Dairy Press Room & Resources