The right milk steaming pitcher makes frothing microfoam and pouring latte art a breeze. But the wrong one? It can leave you with un-incorporated microfoam, blurry latte art, and even sore wrists.
A high-quality pitcher is a must. But with so many options in all sizes, shapes, colors, and even spouts, how do you know which is best for your baristas—and your cafe?
Picking the right milk steamer doesn’t have to be confusing. In this article, we’ll show you:
- The most popular milk steaming pitchers on the market
- Which milk steamer is best for making latte art
- The one must-have steaming accessory that no cafe should do without
Here’s what you need to know.
Selecting Milk Steaming Pitchers For Your Coffee Bar: 3 Things to Consider
There are a lot of milk steaming pitchers on the market. Before you order any of them, you’ll want to consider the following aspects:
Size And Capacity
It’s best to get a pitcher about 2 to 3 times bigger than the cup you’ll be pouring it into.
The most common sizes range between:
- 12-ounce: Best for 6-ounce cappuccinos or 10-ounce lattes.
- 20-ounce: Best for larger drinks—think 12-ounce plus.
- 32-ounce: Best for even larger drinks (16-ounce or over)
Aim to have at least one of each size—but you’ll probably need 4 or 5 of your most common sizes, depending on how busy you get.
Material And Design
Almost all milk steaming pitchers are made from stainless steel—which makes them super easy to clean. Some even come with a Teflon coating or a rubber sleeve to keep the pitchers from getting too hot for your baristas to hold.
Teflon’s non-stick coating makes cleaning simple, plus the coating can be any color or texture, which gives you a lot more options when it comes to branding and can help grant that Instagramable factor.
But Teflon has been known to scratch in busy cafe environments. And if it does, trace elements of Teflon can make its way into your customer’s coffee—which is far from ideal.
Other design specifics (think: color, logo, measurements) will vary, so feel free to follow your heart or your coffee shop’s aesthetics in that regard.
Wide Or Narrow Spout?
Wide spouts are better for large foam movements, aka slowsettas or hearts. Narrow spouts are better for more precise movements.
Most baristas in our network tell us they prefer narrow spouts for increased control and precision when pouring complex latte art.
Next up: The best milk steaming pitchers on the market.
The Best Milk Steaming Pitchers For Coffee Shops
1. Classic Stainless Steel Frothing Pitcher: Best All-Around Milk Steaming Pitcher For Cafes
Coming in at number one is the quintessential frothing pitcher. This 12-ounce pitcher by Espresso Parts is based on a universally classic design, meaning every barista knows it and knows it well.
It comes in 1.3-mm thickness (standard) and the handle is thoughtfully planted far enough away from the pitcher to avoid knuckle burn. And with handy measurement lines, there's no more guessing how much milk to pour.
“Purchased a set of these pitchers. They are well made of wonderfully thick metal. The spouts pour very nicely and the handles are both wide enough to grip properly and far enough off the side of the pitcher to prevent knuckle burn. I'm buying these for both of our cafés!” —Pete
This pitcher comes in all the standard sizes: 12-ounce, 20-ounce, or 32-ounce. This classic design has been tried and tested in cafes all over the world for decades—if you only get one milk steaming pitcher, make it this one.
“Love it. Sturdy, well made. We use this size pitcher for cappuccinos and any 8-ounce or smaller beverages. Because we can steam the exact amount of milk for the drink, there's less waste.” —Ava
2. Barista Basics Colored Frothing Pitcher: Best For Color-Coded Espresso Gear
“These pitchers are great! They have a nice weight to them and are comfortable to handle. The spout prevents dripping even when pouring a completely full pitcher.” —Jennifer Erwing
We all know how important aesthetics are in a modern cafe. We’re living in the age of social media—get your choice of decor and serverware right and your customers will love it. That’s why a milk steaming pitcher that matches your coffee shop's vibe is essential.
This line of frothing pitchers comes in vibrant hues of blue, black, or gold. But it’s not just aesthetics—they come with all the practical features you’d expect:
- 18/8 food-grade stainless steel with 1.3-mm thickness
- Narrow spout for optimal control
- Available in 12-ounce or 20-ounce
- Double-reinforced extra large handle for ergonomics
“This pitcher is great! It definitely helped my latte art game. Love this pitcher.” —Sean Clay
3. 32-Ounce Steel Frothing Pitcher: Best For Serving Large (20+-Ounce) Drinks
“Perfect for steaming milk and creating art on 16-ounce hot beverages.” —Valorie King
Serving a lot of extra large lattes? Then you’re going to need a bigger pitcher. Introducing the Barista Basics 32-ounce frothing pitcher—it comes in a classical stainless steel design with an ergonomic handle and internal measuring lines for precision.
We’re proud of all the pitchers on this list. That’s why we back them with our Espresso Parts warranty and a 365-day return policy. Not that we think you’ll use it. This 1.3-mm thick stainless steel pitcher can handle whatever challenges a busy coffee shop throws at it.
Don’t just take our word for it. Here’s what the staff of the Firefly Coffee House in Fort Wayne, Indiana, had to say about it:
“We love the weight of this pitcher along with the measurement markers on the inside. This is a well-made pitcher that surpasses any other pitcher we have purchased elsewhere in our 23 years of business.”
Don’t Forget A Steaming Thermometer: The Must-Have Accessory For Every Cafe
Whether you’re training new baristas or refreshing experienced ones, sometimes you need to check the milk’s temperature. That’s why a good steaming thermometer is essential. Pop this in your milk as you’re steaming and ensure you have the right heat for whatever you're frothing—whether steaming hot lattes or slightly cooler cortados.
“Good response time. Sturdy clip. The dial is color-coded in the RIGHT place, unlike a lot of thermometers that still try to get you to bring the milk to nearly 160°F.” —Ron Bilow
Bonus: You can calibrate this thermometer yourself to ensure its long-term accuracy. Just clip it onto your frothing pitcher (ideally 12-ounce size) and you’re ready to whip up some microfoam.
Best All-Around Milk Steaming Pitcher For Cafes
Best For Color-Coded Espresso Gear
Best For Serving Large (20-ounce+) Drinks
The Must-Have Accessory For Every Cafe
Pour Your Heart Out, With Wholesale Discounts
When rush hour hits and the last three customers in a row all ordered extra large lattes, you’re going to be happy you have multiple milk steaming pitchers.
If you’re setting up a coffee business for the first time or just refreshing your serverware, we’ve got good news—members of our wholesale buyer’s club get a sweet bulk pricing discount, not to mention supply chain and warehousing capabilities.
Want to talk about frothing pitchers or wholesale pricing? Give us a ring at 800-459-5594 or fill out the form below.
What’s the difference between a milk frothing pitcher and a milk steaming pitcher?
Not a thing—these are one and the same.
Which milk steaming pitcher is best for latte art?
Whichever one your baristas are most comfortable with. Latte art relies mainly on training and practice. But most baristas prefer fine pouring spouts for the extra precision and control when they’re working on their latte art masterpieces.
Which milk steaming pitcher is the most ergonomic?
Most milk steaming pitchers are basically the same shape. Ergonomics is more about setup: keep the espresso machine at the right height for your baristas—you don’t want them to be reaching up or down too much.
What kind of milk is best for latte art?
The higher fat content, the better. Why? Because steaming milk unwraps casein proteins in the milk and forces more air inside them. The proteins then wrap about the air, which makes for long-lasting bubbles, especially when compared to cold frothing.
With this in mind, whole milk is ideal, but a lot of plant-based milks are enhanced with caseins to enable optimal microfoaming.