In spite of my tendency to start my day with a simple mug of black coffee, over the past few months, I've found myself watching video after video of home baristas making Starbucks-inspired sweet cream lattes, caramel macchiatos, and matcha lattes. Suddenly, I missed the occasions when I'd pop out of the office to treat myself to something other than my standard coffee—but I didn't have the tools (much less the technical skill) to do anything past my daily Chemex pour. That is, until I discovered one particular device while scrolling through TikTok.
To buy: $40; amazon.com
At first, it was the Miroco device's ease of use that made me consider it (and I'll admit that its sleek ribbed design was also a factor), but once I really looked into it, I was convinced that it might be an early contender for my best kitchen purchase of 2021. Out of the over 8,000 ratings from Amazon shoppers for the milk frother, 87 percent of them are five stars. That's pretty impressive for a kitchen device most would consider non-essential.
To use it, all you have to do is fill the machine with your milk of choice (the minimum and maximum limits are clearly marked inside), press the button on the front to pick from four settings, and allow it to work its magic. The frother can make airy or dense hot foam, heat milk, or froth milk for a cold drink. The only sounds it emits are a soft hum that's definitely not loud enough to bother anyone you live with and a light beep once it's done. The nonstick interior makes it easy to clean when you're done.
"This little standalone device does such a good job of steaming and frothing my milk that I rarely use the steaming wand on my espresso machine anymore," one Amazon reviewer wrote. "I literally pour in the milk and it does its job. With [a steaming] wand, it takes practice, and it's not always as consistent."
At $40, this little milk frother may seem like a substantial up-front investment, but the number of lattes I've made in the two weeks that I've owned it have already made it a worthwhile purchase for me. When all it takes is a touch of a button, it's easy to be your own barista at home.
This story originally appeared on Food & Wine.