with Teena Hughes

The sad demise of my coffee’s hot milk frother

December 21, 2009 No Comments

For the best coffee in Paris, you may need to make your own :-)
You may have heard me talk or write about my love of coffee and my Italian Bialetti stove-top espresso maker (now over 20 years old, little black bakelite handle recently broke off).

You may have also heard me wax lyrical about my fabulous little milk frother which has even been to Paris with me (accompanied by the Bialetti coffee maker) which has served me well for quite a number of years.

For the best thick creamy hot milk, use this milk plunger.I’m remembering back to the first time I saw one – it was at Mark and Vanessa”s house before my epic 3,000km drive when I was moving from Sydney to Trinity Beach a few years back.

The milk frother was sleek and full of promise – I waited, brimming with anticipation. I was in awe! Amazed! Excited! Like how the first spacemen must have felt when walking on the moon, I imagine. (OK I’m prone to slight exaggeration.)

Vanessa had a glass pot which looked very much like a small Bodum coffee plunger, but assured me it was specifically for milk. The milk was heated (I do mine in a milk saucepan on the stove as I don’t like microwave ovens), and then poured into the glass pot/tube.

Listen closely as this is the amazing bit – the plunger was set into the pot, and Vanessa carefully plunged it up and down for a few minutes until I could see the milk appearing to become thicker, creamier. How was that possible??

Magic. That’s all I can think of. :-)

As Vanessa poured the hot milk onto the steaming Italian espresso already in the cups, it came out thick and frothy, just like the milk heated on a caf├ęs expensive espresso machine.

I was hooked.
In love.

I’ve been using one ever since and I love my coffee making ceremony; it’s a Zen-like time as I prepare the freshly ground coffee beans and measure them into the Bialetti coffee pot; put it on my gas stove, prepare the heated milk … It really only takes a few minutes but the results are simply marvellous! “Delicieuse!” as my French friends say.

I’ve also bought quite a few of these wonderful milk frothers as gifts for friends over the years, and extoll their virtue (ad nauseum, some might say) when given any opportunity.

So that’s all the GOOD news.

The BAD news is that I just went to the kitchen to make a latte, created my Italian espresso on the stove, heated the milk, poured it into the glass milk pot, started to plunge gently …

… and POP!

Something happened! the upper part of the plunger had come away from its silver lid! I gasped! I was shocked! Scared! I tried feverishly to put the thing together but alas and alack, to no avail!

I stood there – stunned – not sure what to do next …

Then I did what any other person would do – let out a huge sigh of resignation as I poured the hot milk into my espresso, and came back to my desk to share my woe with the world.

I started typing and then reached out for my coffee … only to see the one thing which I’d forgotten about.  It’s enough to harden any heart.

Yuck. That lacklustre skin which forms on hot milky coffee – if it’s not frothed in my milk frother.

With sadness in my heart I reached in with a fingernail and pushed the milk skin to the OTHER side of my cup, trying to get it to stick to side of the cup.

Did it taste the same, I hear you ask. And the answer is easy – no, it didn’t.

That’s it. It’s time to go buy a new milk frother … and to find out how to fix the bakelite handle on my Bialetti coffee pot.

PS if you’d like to know exactly how to make a fantastic coffee at home, you can read my step-by-step instructions on my Paris website:


Teena Hughes of AbfabDesigns.com - Silk Artist, Fashion Designer

Tags: bialletti coffee pot, cafe latte, hot milk frother, how to make the best italian coffee, latte, milk plunger, teena hughes

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