This Le ‘Xpress milk frother review leads from my last post about pouring latte art without a steam wand.
I’d been trying other methods of frothing milk as I don’t currently have an espresso machine with a steam wand; the method of foaming milk in a cafetiere is a really cool little hack, but it doesn’t create the right texture for latte art. Also, if you’re using the cafetiere also for making coffee, which is of course what it is intended for ;-), then you’ll find that you need to clean it really well before using it to froth milk, other wise you’ll end up with coffee grounds in the milk.
I remembered I used to have one of the little battery operated spinning whisk gizmo’s from Ikea, that I think cost a quid or two. I had a look online and found the Le ‘Xpress frother from Amazon for just under a fiver, so I thought I’d give it a go. I’ve seen that there are more expensive electric milk frothers which also heat the milk as well ad texuring it, but I’ve not tried them as they usually seem a bit on the pricey side.
The thing that has really surprised me about these cheap hand frothers, is that they really give you a lot of control over the texturing. Depending on how you use them, you can create quite a wide range of milk texture. If all you want to do is create a bit of a foamy texture, that’s fine just stick it in for a few seconds and you’ll get that; however if you experiment with it you’ll find you can do different things to the milk depending on how you use it.
In terms of the process of doing latte art with one of these, I won’t cover that here as I’ve recently written a post all about pouring latte art without a steam wand, so read that for a more in-depth post on using one of these to texture milk for latte art.
It seems a bit larger than the ones I’ve had in the past from Ikea. OK it’s not the most impressive device in terms of overall look and feel, it’s mainly lightweight plastic; but I’m fairly happy with it for the price in terms of overall quality.I read the Amazon reviews (overall 4 out of 5 stars from over 650 reviews) some of which claim that it feels a bit of a cheap product, which makes me giggle slightly, because at £4.47 it IS a cheap product… OK Ikea do (or at least used to) a cheaper one, but I’d have to see them side by side to say whether this one is worth the extra few quid. I seem to recall that the ones I had from ikea in the past were smaller and less powerful, but I may be wrong.
There are more expensive frothers; the Aerolatte looks very similar although the on and off button is on the very top with the thumb, which looks like it might be a bit easer to use one handed, and this had 4.4 out of 5 stars from over 830 reviews, so that’s impressive. There’s also a larger stainless steel frother called Silky Milky which looks like a larger more heavy duty affair, it has decent reviews too; 4.6 out of 5 from 66 reviews.
Anyway going back to the Le’ Xpress, It seems to have plenty of power, my only real criticism is that it seems to really go through batteries. I found that I was having better results with new batteries, and then after each use I was struggling more and more to get the texture right. Changing the batteries sorted the problem, but then it was the same again after only a few more uses; this was with Duracell batteries too so we’re not talking cheap crappy batteries.
I then remembered that I have some rechargeable Duracell batteries that I use for my camera, so I started using them, and that sorted the problem. For some reason, using rechargeable batteries seems to be much better with the Le ‘Xpress, I can get at least quadruple the uses from a single charge than I can get from one set of ordinary Duracell batteries, which seems strange but there you go.
So overall, I’d say this is a good product for the price. It may well not be the best frother available, but it’s not the most expensive either, and for a fiver product I’m very happy with it. I’ve been using it probably about four months now, and it’s still working fine.
Life is like a box of chocolates, and that’s all I have to say about that :-).