For the Aerolatte-uninitiated—I was among you until last Friday, when the box arrived from Amazon—the Aerolatte is a milk frother: a tight curled-wire head on a metal wand attached to a battery-powered motor. You use it, as you might suspect, to froth milk for cappuccinos or lattes or anything else that might call for call for a little steamed milk. (For what it's worth, the company is actually based in the U.K., not in Italy, but love for steamed milk is universal.)
I am not much one for gadgets, but this piece, about this history of the moka pot, made me want both a moka pot and an Aerolatte—and the sort of steaming-clinking-sipping morning rhythm they seemed to promise. I haven't yet committed to the former (I still feel devoted to my pour-over routine, which has a rhythm of its own), but the itch for an Aerolatte persisted.
So I bought an Aerolatte. They come in a whole range of colors, but I got a red one, which came with its own little stand to prevent the wand from getting bent in the melee of the silverware drawer. I smile every time I look at it. I'm not kidding.
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How could you not love a tool "created with a passion for great coffee and frothy milk drinks"? (This, from the Aerolatte site.) Marie-Claire apparently called it an "oh-so-sexy kitchen gadget." (Also from the Aerolatte site.) And I would have to agree. Buying it in red made me understand why people buy sports cars in red.
Above, how to use it. (My own technique, admittedly, still needs some work—the milk occasionally leaps out of the glass measuring cup I froth it in.) I'd also recommend paying special attention to the joyful, dramatic cleaning technique.
I too have a passion for great coffee and frothy milk drinks, but the reason I really love the Aerolatte is because it adds a certain intentionality, an additional dimension of care. All of Aerolatte's promotional materials will tell you again and again that you can froth milk (hot or cold!) in just twenty seconds, but it's an extra step (even if it's a quick one): I can make a cup of coffee in two minutes and gulp it down almost as quickly, but heating a bit of milk in a saucepan and spending a few seconds frothing it and pouring the hot milk into my coffee and carefully spooning the foam over the surface of it takes a little more time. And that's a good thing here. It feels like a tiny act of self-care. When I spend a few more minutes making my coffee, I want to spend a few minutes more drinking it, and I spend a few minutes more on myself.
And you can get it for about $15, and it's easy to clean—i.e. less expensive and lower-maintenance than either a fancy espresso machine or a sports car. And while I can't say it will do what an espresso machine or a sports car might as far as lifting you from a midlife crisis or otherwise-slump, it might make you smile every time you look at it. Which is more than a cup of black coffee can say.