Frothing/Foaming Almond Milk (Cappuccino)

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Original post: *2/19/2013

tl;dr – Current Top Picks

Easy Path: Nespresso Aeroccino + Trader Joe’s Whole Foods Almond Milk
A little challenge: Homemade and a Froth Au Lait frother (if you can find one)

As of 6/2018 Whole Foods Almond milk has changed formula and carton and is no longer recommended for foaming. Wev’e tried and just get soap-style-bubbles :(

Ugh. It seems both Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods are back to having quality control issues. One batch to the next it could be great or bad. After dozens of great results from Trader Joe’s Almond Milk we just had 3 cartons that produced sad bubbles. Luckily a recent batch of cartons from Whole Foods are working great.

To illustrate how big of a difference this is, check out the pictures below.

Here is the good, rich foam:

Here is the sad foam:

Almond Milk

We’ve made the switch to almond milk and for the most part could not be happier. The biggest challenge so far is finding an almond milk that froths/foams for use in such drinks as a cappuccino. What we want is the thick rich foam that you can just pour (or scoop) into the cup and that holds strong consistency. To make your cappuccino “dryer” you can let the foam sit for an extra minute or two and then scoop it out with a spoon.

Pouring frothed almond milk

The Foam

The foam is not just a “topper” that covers the coffee. A “topper” is much closer to a latte consisting of mostly steamed milk mixed with espresso and a scoop or two of foam on top. With a cappuccino, it’s a lot of foam infused with a shot or two of espresso. Taking it a step “dryer,” a common variation of the espresso macchiato can be made in the same manner, but using just a scoop or two of foam.

So you are looking for thick rich foam filling most of the drink:

Before adding the espresso:

Almond Milk foam/froth next to shots of espresso

After:

Frothed almond milk cappuccino in Bodum mug

Bubbles or Foam?

Answer: Foam! We are not looking for big soap bubbles here. You want rich small/micro-bubble foam that keeps a pretty strong shape. Notice how after pouring the shot of espresso in the drink below, the foam just has a small crater and keeps its shape. Again, 3/4 of this drink is made up of foam, leaving 1/4 for the shot of espresso and a bit of the steamed milk.

Rich almond milk foam cappuccino

Iced Variation

Below is a picture of an iced cappuccino. The foam to espresso ratio here is a bit different. This is mostly caused by the ice melting as the hot shot of espresso is poured over it. Also, I use a lot of ice. So the coffee part that you see here is still filled mostly with ice.

Iced almond milk cappuccino

Frothers – What works best?

Froth Au Lait

Froth Au Lait still makes the best foam. That said, the company is out of business and the machines are not the best build quality. We still have one, it’s somewhat loud, doesn’t heat that well, but nice foam production.

Nespresso/DeLonghi machine with built in frother.

This auto froths and steams cold milk at the bush of a button. It’s built into the Nespress pod brewing system as well. It does a pretty good job though we have moved away from it as our go to.

Nespresso Aeroccino

This is a stand-alone offering from Nespresso in that it is not attached to the actual machine. It is sold independently and in bundles. This unit will heat the milk and uses a small disc-like spinner at the bottom to foam the milk. It does a surprisingly good job (if the milk is right) though not quite as good as the Froth Au Lait on foam. Still this is our current go to option.

What Brands are the Best (updated 7.2018)

Below is a list of almond milk brands and the quality of foam that we’ve achieved:

Brand Foam Quality Taste Overall Carrageenan Organic Last Tested
Almond Breeze Good-ish Good (Bitter) Good Yes No 2016
Lucerne Non-GMO Almond Milk Poor Fair Poor unknown No 2016
Silk Almond Milk Original Fair Good Fair unknown No 2016
Pacific Organic Almond Milk* Great Good Good Yes Yes 2016
Whole Foods 365 Organic Unsweetened Original (orange carton)** Great Good Good No Yes 7/2018
Whole Foods 365 Organic Unsweetened Original (new container)** Random?! Good Fair No Yes 7/2018
Trader Joe’s Almond Milk Random?! Good Good No No 7/2018

** Sadly the quality and consistency of almond milk seems to change every now and then. You can track some of the Whole Foods saga below under “Update on Whole Foods.” Due to this constant shift we will try to update as store brands ebb and flow on quality. We are now back to using Trader Joe’s brand instead of Whole Foods after the recent formula change (Spring 2018).

Mixing it Up

We’ve been experimenting with blending the milks to get that closer-to-perfection foam. If you are not getting think enough foam, try mixing in 50% Almond Breeze. Note, the Almond Breeze does have Carrageenan.

Update on Whole Foods

All ingredients and nutritional information remain the same, but something clearly has changed. In 2013, we contacted our local store and Whole Foods corporate. They said no ingredients have changed and they will look into it. Perhaps it’s just a quality control issue on some of the ingredients. Recently we have contacted Whole Foods again due to the recent formula and carton change in Spring 2018. We’ll update when/if we hear anything.

History:

  • 2013: whole foods had some sort of production/quality-control issue that affected the stock of 365 Almond Milk in early/mid-2013. Some batches were good, some were bad, then it was pulled from the shelves for 1-2 months. It appears that something has changed in this latest batch. We have tested 2 cartons of the “Expires in June 2013” Almond Milk and they are not foaming at all (collapsing soap bubbles). We still have some “Expires in May 2013” that foams well. So for those trying it out for the first time, you may be out of look for the refrigerated stuff. I suggest that you buy the smaller $1.99 non-refrigerated version. We have tried several of the ones that “Expires in Nov 2013” and they foam very well. However, the “Expires in Dec 2013,” “Expires in Jan 2013,” and “Expires in Feb 2014” have not foamed well at all.
  • May 2013: We’ve tried the next batch of refrigerated Whole Foods Organic 365 Almond Milk (with expiration dates in July 2013) and it’s back to foaming. The foam is rich/creamy again but is a bit wetter than it used to be. This makes a really good cappuccino, but if you are looking for a dry cappuccino, you might want to stick with Almond Breeze for now.
  • June 2013 – OOS?: As of early June, it seems that now there is a production problem with Whole Foods 365 Organic Almond Milk and some stores don’t have any of the refrigerated in stock at all. Our local store is completely “out of stock” though no one at the store knew why. Whole Foods says that it’s just an out-of-stock issue with their supplier. Will keep you posted on any details that we hear.
  • August 2013: Finally! It’s back in stock at our local stores. We’ve heard some mixed feedback here about the recipe, but so far we’ve liked it. Our primary use is for foaming milk to use in coffee and we are glad to saw that the new recipe is back to actually foaming and foaming well.
  • As of August 2013, it’s back on the shelves and so far so good. Whole Foods Foaming Again
  • 2018: As of 6/2018, whole foods has introduced a new carton design an along with it has a new formula for their almond milk. This new formula is not as good. We tested side by side with the “orange” and new cartons. The orange carton (365 Original Unsweetened) was great, but the new carton consistently gave us foam bubbles.

Update on Trader Joe’s

Just as Whole Foods seems to have been taking out of the game (still not sure why) – Trader Joe’s has come back. Their latest batch that we’ve tried Oct 2014 seems to be creating that rich foam again. Let’s hope this lasts.

Quality Control

Still this poses the same question that we have about Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, etc.. Is there a quality control issue going on here or is it just a fluke? Does anyone have any insight?

Homemade Almond Milk Works too

Fresh Almond Milk

More Helpful Resources:

Note: For those that are interested, unless otherwise specified, the milks listed do not have any Carrageenan in them (a somewhat common ingredient to soy, coconut, and almond based milks).

Almond Milk foam/froth next to a shot of espresso

Here are a few other bloggers discussing foaming milk:

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Comments

  1. Demsina

    I remember reading somewhere that if the milk is “old” not spoiled, just not packed “Fresh” it doesn’t foam up very nice.

    For example, my fresh made almond milk… beautiful foam. The Whole365 that I bought that doesn’t expire until january of 2014, no foam.

    The milk isn’t “old” but it’s just not “Fresh”. Maybe that’s why?

  2. mary

    ZOMG.. basically.. they are out. Whole Foods is out. I agree.. this is the best milk.. but they say they are having production problems. After a month of no froth.. then two weeks of frothing.. now.. they say it will be a couple of weeks until we can even buy it. #firstworldproblems

  3. ste (Author)

    @Demsina

    Thank you for the reply. We have not yet tried fresh/homemade Almond milk for foaming, but plan to. I’ll make a note that the Jan 2014 Whole Foods milk that you refer to is also not foaming. We were able to successfully foam with most recent “refrigerated” batch, but as @mary points out, Whole Foods seems to have a production problem as the shelves at our local store are empty.

    @Mary

    Thank you for your comment. The refrigerated Whole Foods 365 Almond Milk are also “gone” from our local store’s shelves. Clearly there are production problems or quality control problems. I wonder if the foaming and availability issues are related? If we hear anything I’ll posted an update. If you hear anything specific, please let us know as well.

  4. rose

    I, too, have been trying to figure out what happened to the lack of foam in almond milk. I’ve tried Whole Foods (shelf) and now SO Delicious and Silk. Nothing is foaming to my high standards for foam.
    Thank you

  5. ste (Author)

    @rose

    Thank you for the comment. What type of frother are you using? We were getting great results with Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods until the quality control issues (and now stock issues) hit them. When the stuff was good, we’d get think foam that that rivaled that of soy and milk.

  6. Claudia Mayfield

    What type of frother are y’all using? I’ve been searching for one and can’t find the best for almond milk.

  7. ste (Author)

    @Claudia

    We’ve been using a few different models of the Froth Au Lait. I highly recommend this frother for performance – though they tend to break easily. However, the company seems to have evaporated earlier this year. Their products have disappeared from Amazon, their company telephone number is disconnected, and other vendors have run out of stock.

    Other Frother’s do work with Almond Milk, but the Froth Au Lait has given us the best froth all around. We had some luck with the Capresso frothPRO as well.

    If you have any recommendations, please let us know. We are looking as well as a backup to our Froth Au Lait.

  8. Joe

    Which Almond breeze are you using? Have you found any differences between the flavours with regard to frothing? Thanks

  9. ste (Author)

    @Joe

    We’re using the Almond Milk Original. It foams really think, but also tends to drain out a bit if you let it sit around for 5-10+ min. Sometimes mixing a couple brands can achieve a better blend.

    As far as flavor, Almond Breeze tends to be pretty good, but a little dry/bitter compared to others. That’s just my opinion though.

  10. Nic

    You need to add Califia Almond milk to that list. All the best coffee shops in the Bay Area is their milk.
    Califia Farms

  11. Melody

    I am allergic to all dairy and soy so when I go to coffee shops for a latte my only option is usually almond milk. (I did get to try hemp milk the other day in Seattle and it was wonderful!) Compared to normal milk, the taste of an almond milk latte is inferior in my opinion. But there have been a couple times when I’ve ordered an almond milk latte, and the taste was actually similar to cows milk because it was so sweet. A couple of those times I’ve actually gone back to make sure that it is indeed almond milk and it always is. I work at a cafe now, and have been experimenting with almond milk to try to figure out how to steam it to retain it’s sweetness, but I can’t figure out how. I know the temperature should have something to do with it. I can get enough foam without a problem usually. But I just can’t figure out how to keep it sweet.

  12. Sayed

    In in Chicago and use a Meijer Store brand of almond milk. It is unsweetened and no flavor which I found works best.

  13. Sarah

    Thanks so much for this helpful page!

    Almond Breeze is usually great for frothing, and I have tried the plain (sweetened and unsweetened) and the unsweetened vanilla.

    However, the latest batches I bought this week are not foaming. :(

    If anyone is in Australia, I can tell you that the So Good brand doesn’t foam at all. Does anyone know where to get Trader Joe’s in Australia?

  14. Molli

    I wish I would have seen this blog a few hours ago! I just bought all the ingredients, including a new frother, to make a chai latte with almond milk and was puzzled as to why it wasn’t very foamy. When I tested with regular milk, the foam quality was much better so I turned to google, since I figured it had to be the almond milk and came upon your site. Great info!

  15. ste (Author)

    @Molli

    Glad the information here was some help. Did you ever get the almond milk to successfully foam? We’ve recently switched to Pacific Organic Almond Milk and are using a Nespresso with a built in frother. This has been foaming quite nicely – though not as substantial as the Froth Au Lait frother.

  16. Vicki

    Any thoughts on the ability of frothing coconut milk?

  17. ste (Author)

    @vicki

    That is a great idea. We have not experimented too much with coconut milk. Are you thinking more of the “coconut drink” that you’d get in a carton or the thicker coconut milk that you’d get in a can?

  18. Lacey

    Thanks for this info! I have the Nespresso Lattisima and really wanted to switch to to almond milk, but was using the almond breeze and it always tasted metallic to me! I’ll try the whole foods one next. Are you using the pressure frother like mine, or the wisk frother?

  19. Nathan

    I’ve been having this problem for a while and just used Trader Joe’s for the first time in my Nespresso foamer. This is the best cappuccino I’ve had yet!

  20. Bryan

    @Nic

    I couldn’t agree more. Califia is far and away the best almond milk I’ve had in a latte. It’s not always easy to find but it’s worth it.

    I’m curious, what temperature do you steam the milk to?

  21. ste (Author)

    @Lacey

    We’re using the steam frother built in to the Lattissima. Is that what you are using?

  22. rhonda siskin

    Traders has just stopped frothing?

  23. Mirjam Schmidlin

    Hi ,
    I was wondering if you could possibly e-mail me regarding frothing almond milk as I was not able to find any contact details. I’m interested in hearing your opinion on frothing almond milk in cafes – as I am guessing you cannot treat it the same as milk i.e. temperature etc?
    I look forward to hearing from you,
    best wishes,
    Mirjam

  24. ste (Author)

    @Mirjam

    Cafe’s are starting to offer Almond milk in them. For example, Pete’s Coffee now offers Almond Milk drinks using Pacific Organic. You should be able to use these in a cafe but will need to make sure you are using the proper certified foamers and follow food safety. Let me know what you think.

  25. ste (Author)

    @rhonda

    Trader Joe’s is our current top pick and is working for us as of Nov 2014. What trouble are you having? What frother do you use?

  26. Noreen

    I just bought a Secura automatic milk frother as I wanted to start drinking Matcha in a cappuccino. I also use Californa farms almond milk, however it did not froth. Do you need a press frother for almond milk?

  27. Yvonne

    For those looking for a back-up unit for their Froth au lait frother, we have had wonderful luck with the Aerolatte ® Frother From Crate & Barrel for $20.

  28. PAM

    I can get a really good foam with Blue Diamond Almond Milk (both Unsweetened Original and Unsweetened Vanilla) but ZERO froth with the equivalent SILK. Trader Joe’s and Whole Food’s Almond Milk both seem to work well but I have to travel over an hour and a half to get tot the closest stores. I don’t know if SILK adds something to their almond milk or what the problem is but I have been less than impressed with their product. I mainly use a European Tupperware Frother or my electric frother. (side note) I have spent more than half of my coffee drinking life living in Europe so I a quite aware what type of froth is needed for the coffee drinks.

  29. Kelly

    Trader Joe’s was working great until about 6 weeks ago….it has stopped frothing the way it used to :( I am about to place an order online for 6 Pacific barista series out of frustration. Has anyone else experienced the same result using TJ’s as of late?

  30. rhea

    What machine are you using? it looks like it works great! i just bought the keurig r500 and i don’t get as much froth

  31. Cheryl Stockton

    I just found your article. I have been using whole foods unsweetened almond milk for about a year with great foaming results. But this last batch is not frothing. Do you have any new info on this issue?
    Thanks.

  32. Alanna Arenstein

    Thanks for this info! Maybe I should try this one at home too. Haven’t tried this before. Is it okay if I’ll just use a handheld battery operated stainless steel Milk Frother which I always use in frothing milk and making delicious coffee? Been already using this for a long time and is really very helpful indeed. I hope it will not make a difference. I bought it from amazon http://amztk.com/milkfrother.

  33. Madison

    Hey there! As a barista myself, I discovered I was lactose intolerance just over a year ago. I struggled with almond milk until Sprouts popped up in our neighborhood. I was delighted with their almondmilk (but not the unsweetened, tastes great, doesn’t foam well). curious as to why, the common ingredient in good foaming almondmilk is xantham gum. it holds the milk together a lot better, and as long as you are not the less than 1% that is allergic to xantham gum, it’s by far the best to use. I’ve use silk and blue diamond, and am not a fan of either. Sprouts has been the best for me, and latte art is even a possibility!

  34. Marika

    Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla is currently not foaming at all, something has changed in the last batch I got with the new screw top lid. No foam at all. Great to have with ceral but crap for frothing for cappacinos.

  35. Stevie

    Froth works every time, every morning with my Blue Diamond vanilla almond milk …Simply get the chill off. I microwave milk for 20-25 sec in microwave. Not to heat it, just to get the chill off. Pour room temp milk up to lower level mark inside electric aerocinno frother. Push once for red light and seconds later… done PERFECT FROTH. Now try your loved milk or cream by getting the chill off first…IDK if they will work. I haven’t tried the others since I finally got my froth with Blue Diamond vanilla almond milk. I did find that regular organic cream worked pouring directly into aerocinno but it was too buttery for me. … good luck

  36. rhonda siskin

    @kelly traders is on and off but as of about a month ago- cant froth at all. Tried Capresso, and verismo- starbucks… really missing my foam.

  37. Sarah

    Has anyone else noticed that Almond Breeze isn’t foaming anymore? Ever since they changed their packaging.

  38. Nickel

    I have had good luck with Almond Breeze (Almond Cashew unsweetened) which Trader Joes is recommended? The chilled on in HALF gallon form or the one unrefrigerated on the shelves?

  39. Sabine

    Yes, Sarah, I noticed that too, and when it happened I went on a long search for a solution.( what a great business opportunity for a company that produces alternative milk, I can just picture the commercial!)
    I found a coconut creamer that works really well, but: it is sweetened which I don’t like. Also, quite expensive since it comes in those small packages. So, I am searching again, hence my visit to this site…..

  40. Will

    Neither the almond milk nor the coconut milk from trader joes will froth as of Aug 2016. Almond breeze works ok, but I really dislike the taste of the froth you get.

  41. Leslie Starus

    I have tried several varieties of Almond Milk in my Nespresso Frother. LIke most of the comments some work for awhile and then don’t. I found the best for right now is Silk Almond Milk in the refrigerator section not the box. It is the 60 calorie one unsweetened. I really like the quality of the foam.

  42. Marina Robbins

    I always purchase Trader Joe’s Original Almond Milk BEVERAGE from the refrigerated section (1/2 gallon) because it foams like crazy. Oddly though, some days it is SO foamy and the next it’s bubbles! I don’t get it! Could it be the date or temperature?

  43. Isabelle

    Hi! I have been using Almond Silk plain unsweetened and unsweetened vanilla for over a year now for frothing for my morning cappuccino and it worked very well. Suddenly this week it doesn’t work anymore… I compared the packaging with the old one that was working and I couldn’t find any difference with the ingredients … anyone has any idea of what is happening?

  44. Isabelle

    Hi! I have been using Almond Silk plain unsweetened and unsweetened vanilla for over a year now for frothing for my morning cappuccino and it worked very well. Suddenly this week it doesn’t work anymore… I compared the packaging with the old one that was working and I couldn’t find any difference with the ingredients … anyone has any idea of what is happening?

  45. Carla

    Almond Breeze hasn’t been foaming for some time now although it used to. I would like to switch but haven’t found a good foaming alternative milk.

  46. Terry

    We have good luck with BlueDiamond Almond/Cashew Blend – thick foam in the Nespresso foaming machine.

  47. Miranda Cunningham

    Anyone tried Aldi Almond milk? I switch back and forth between that and almond breeze. Can get whole foods too if needed. But the next question is what is the best method/ frother for a stand alone frother if your using almond milk? This is my quest.

  48. Pat

    Oh baby! Thanks for this. Tried all of these, with middling results. None had consistency in foaming (using Nespresso Aerocino). Sort of 50-50 at best. And then I found New Barn Unsweetened Almond Milk (at our local organic griocery). JACKPOT!!!! GREAT flavor, texture, foam—in fact, I had to go down to setting 3 because at 4, the foam was almost impenetrable. ENJOY!!! Please try it and add it to your review? I really want them to stay in business—I’ve been trying for many months (and two foamers….)

  49. Teresa

    Anyone have any 2018 frothing almond milk suggestions? Sporadic success with Kroger Brand Simple Truth organic unsweetened vanilla: Organic Almondmilk (Filtered Water, Organic Almonds), Tricalcium Phosphate, Organic Locust Bean Gum, Organic Vanilla Flavor, Sea Salt, Sunflower Lecithin, Gellan Gum, Potassium Citrate, Organic Vanilla Extract, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D2, DL-Alpha Tocopherol, Acetate (Vitamin E), Vitamin B12.018

  50. Eyal

    So Delicious introduced organic Almond+Cashew milk which froth very well (for Latte Art) and tastes very good (with very mild nutty notes compared to others)…

    http://sodeliciousdairyfree.com/products/organic-almondmilk/original-organic-almondmilk

    You may want to update your table

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