The Trick To Making Starbucks Cold Foam At Home

The warmer days are creeping in and with them the happy switchover from hot coffee to refreshing iced. Starbucks is ready to help its fans cool off with its ever-popular cold brew drinks: strong cold brew coffee and flavorings served over ice and topped with a thick layer of creamy cold foam. However, at nearly $5 a drink, cold brews can quickly become an expensive indulgence — a good reason to learn how to make copycat coffees at home. There are plenty of tutorials out there on how to make cold brew coffee, but how do you make that dreamy cold foam?

Epicurious put a few different methods of making cold foam from milk to the test, and all of them require easily affordable gadgets. They found the most success with a tool that's meant not for milk, but for brewing coffee: a French press. The plunger in a French press is meant to be depressed slowly to filter the grounds from the brewed coffee. It turns out that when pumped up and down vigorously through cold milk, that plunger also creates a satisfying, velvety foam. It works well with dairy milk (low-fat versions are best) and nondairy milks made with thickening ingredients.  

No French press? Make cold foam with these tools instead

If there is no French press to be found, don't worry: There are a few other ways to make cold foam for your cold brew (or any iced or hot coffee drink) at home. An electric milk frother is a large, closed container that churns warm or cold milk into foam. A smaller hand frother with a long, metal wand can also be used to make cold foam. Although you'll have to hold onto it and move it through the milk to make it work, a hand frother is less expensive. For either of these, the best results come from using skim milk, as even a little bit of fat in other types of milk prevents the foam from forming well.

One other milk foam option is a mason jar. To do this, just pour milk into the jar, put the lid on, and shake-shake-shake until your arm is about to fall off and there's enough foam to scoop onto the drink. The pros are that a jar is cheap and easy to find in a pinch. The cons are that it takes some elbow grease and doesn't turn out the best cold foam. However, it's another useful tool in your arsenal for affordable, homemade cold brews and cold foam all summer long.