It’s no secret how much I love a good cup of coffee. While I’ll try pretty much any type of coffee drink at least once, it’s no secret that a sweet and creamy iced coffee is my go-to, most beloved choice for caffeination.
The only thing that can truly elevate a good iced coffee experience is cold foam. A year or so ago, Starbucks introduced cold foam for their iced coffees and macchiatos, and my life has never been the same since.
In the interests of not spending my entire life savings on coffee, I’ve spent a significant amount of time trying to figure out the best way to replicate my heavenly cold foam experience at home.
While it’s still not 100 percent perfect (yet), I’ve had some extremely delicious and promising results so far.
In the interests of not spending my entire life savings on coffee, I’ve figured out the best way to replicate my heavenly cold foam experience at home.
But First: What Not to Do
If, like me, you’ve searched Google for copycat cold foam recipes, you’ve no doubt encountered the numerous instances of people saying, “Oh just froth the milk in a French press!” or “Just put nonfat milk in the blender! That’s what Starbucks does!”
No, no it’s not. It’s true that you can froth milk to a certain degree with a French press plunger, and they might use nonfat milk as part of their process, but trust me when I say that neither of those “copycat” methods is going to give you anything but sadness and disappointment. Real cold foam is a dense, sippable cloud that floats on top as the perfect touch of sweet creaminess to your iced coffee. French press milk froth will just mix into your coffee with no lasting foam.
Another thing to keep in mind is that using heavy cream won’t give you cold foam consistency, either. Everything I’ve learned has pointed to needing the right milk protein-to-fat ratio, and heavy cream has too much fat. It’s great for making an indulgent whipped cream float for your iced coffee, but it’s not great for cold foam.
The Basics of Cold Foam
Starbucks does use nonfat milk, but they use a special setting on the blender to get the creamy, root beer float texture of the cold foam. I don’t have a fancy blender, but I did invest in a relatively inexpensive frother, and it has been integral to creating great cold foam! I’m sure that there are other, less expensive models that you can purchase, but this just happens to be the one that I own.
Overall, this does work best with dairy milk. I’ve had decent success with almond and oat milk, but nothing gives the same level of sippable creaminess as cow milk.
So, if you’re ready to know how to create your own cold foam at home, let’s dive in!
How to Make Cold Foam At Home
The absolute best milk for making cold foam is Fairlife. They process their milk in a way that it’s high in protein and relatively low in fat, and it makes absolutely perfect cold foam.
I’ve used the nonfat, chocolate, and 2 percent varieties, and they’ve all produced consistently amazing results. If you don’t want any kind of added sweetness to your cold foam, you can just froth 1 to 3 ounces of Fairlife as is and pour it on top of your iced coffee. In my particular frother, I do two cycles of frothing, and it’s perfect. If you have a different frother or a fancy blender (like a Nutribullet or something), you can experiment with different settings to see what works best for you!
If you’re using any other brand of dairy milk, or a non-dairy milk alternative, you’ll probably need to add a bit of sugar to get the right cold foam consistency. I’ve found that a 1/2 teaspoon per ounce of milk is the minimum needed for the perfect cold foam density! You can add more for a sweeter taste, but any less doesn’t work as well for me. Two frothing cycles seems to be the sweet spot for my frother, but again, do what works for you.
As an aside: Artificial sweeteners don’t work as well as regular sugar! This is one instance where it’s better to just use the real sugar.
Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy
That’s really all that there is to making good cold foam. If you’re an iced coffee-holic like me, it’s totally worth it to invest in a milk frother. Just make sure that the one you choose has a cold setting because warm foam on cold coffee is weird.
Don’t forget that you can add extras into your foam too! Sometimes I add cinnamon sugar, drops of vanilla extract, or cocoa powder, and it’s seriously delicious.
If you’ve made good copycat cold foam at home, please share your secrets with me! I’d love to try new techniques.