Adding half and half to your coffee is a superb way of making a creamier and richer drink. You can order your coffee with a splash of half and half at a coffee shop or add it to your home coffee.
But can you froth half and half?
Yes, half and half froths superbly and frothed half and half is a key ingredient in breve coffee. It makes a stable and thick foam due to the higher fat content. When frothing half and half with a steam wand, stop at about 25-30 degrees before reaching the desired temperature to avoid scorching it.
When adding frothed half and half to coffee especially espresso, you want to first pour the liquid cream and then the foam otherwise the espresso will float to the surface.
How to Froth Half and Half Correctly
What is half and half? Half and half is a mixture of equal parts of cream and milk. Its fat content is about 10-12 percent. It has about half the lactose content in regular milk and a third of the fat content in heavy cream.
Therefore, half and half provides a balance between lactose and fat content for people who want to reduce lactose and fats intake.
You can also buy non-dairy half and half which is lactose-free.
How to Froth Half and Half with a Steam Wand
The key points to remember when frothing half and half with a steam wand are
- the half and half and the pitcher should be cold. Starting with warm half and half limits your time to texture it before it heats up to the desired temperature.
- prime your steamer so that it has enough pressure and purge it before steaming. See how to use a milk steamer correctly
- avoid overheating the half and half as it will develop a burnt taste. The ideal steaming temperature is about 139-160 degrees Fahrenheit. Since the fats in half and half absorb heat and continue heating even after you have stopped steaming, you want to stop steaming at 25-30 degrees before the desired temperature. For example, when aiming for 150°F, stop steaming at 120°F as the half and half’s temperature will continue rising by a further 20 to 30 degrees.
How to Froth Half and Half with a Milk Frother
If you want a hot foam, you can either heat up half-and-half and froth it and heat it up after frothing. Whether you are using a manual frother such as a French press or an automatic frother like the Aeroccino or Keurig frother, the frothing process for half and half is similar to that of regular milk
Here is a review of the Nespresso milk frothers.
A good hand frother will also make great foam from half and half. You want one with enough power to whisk the half-and-half without stalling.
If you do not have a frother, see how to froth half and half without a frother where we show you how to use basic equipment like a blender, an empty bottle, or a hand whisk to foam it.
Half and Half in Coffee
There are several ways of adding half and half to coffee but the most common is breve coffee.
Breve coffee is a cappuccino that uses frothed half and half instead of milk. Steamed half and half is added to coffee and topped with frothed half and half.
How to Pour Frothed Half and Half in Coffee Correctly
Since the foam in half and half is thick and heavy, it is likely to displace the espresso and hold it on the surface. So when pouring frothed half and half in espresso for breve coffee, hold the foam back and slowly add liquid half and half and then pour the foam.
You can use a spoon to polish the surface of the foam.
4 Ways to Make Half and Half at Home
No half and half no problem, here are four ways to make your own half and half substitute at home.
1. Blend 1/4 Cup Heavy Cream and 3/4 Cup Milk
The beauty of making your own half and half with heavy cream and milk is that you can come up with something that is in between half and half and heavy cream.
Adding a quarter-cup of heavy cream to a three-quarter cup of milk makes a blend that is creamier than regular half and half.
This homemade half and half adds more richness to coffee than store-bought half and half.
2. Mix Two-thirds Heavy Cream to a Thirds Low-fat or Skim Milk
Low fat and skim milk have one percent and less than one percent fat content respectively. So you need a bit more heavy cream than when using whole milk.
Read this post about heavy whipping cream in coffee.
3. Blend Light Cream and Milk in Equal Parts
Add a half-cup light cream to a half-cup of milk to make your own half and half that is similar to a store-bought one. For more thickness, add more light cream than milk.
4. Adding Butter to Regular Milk
Add 3-4 tablespoons of melted unsalted butter to a measuring cup and add enough whole milk to fill a regular cup. Whisk the mixture to uniformly incorporate the butter into the milk.
This makes a richer half and half that you can add to your coffee or use it for cooking.
Other than making your own half and half, you can substitute half and half with evaporated milk or creamer. See this post where I explain everything about evaporated milk and how to use it in coffee.
Half and half makes a fabulous froth that is very stable. Breve coffee is a popular drink that uses frothed half and half and espresso.
Whether you are using a steam wand, a milk frother, or a makeshift frothing tool, you can froth half and half for your coffee.