Dec. 6, 2011 -- I'll admit it. I have a Starbucks problem. That green mermaid logo is like a coffee beacon, beckoning me inside for my grande non-fat caffe latte. I used to fall for it almost every morning.
So other members of Coffee Addicts Anonymous would probably understand that when I first heard about the Aerolatte, a slim kitchen gadget promising to froth milk as well as any coffeehouse barista, I was skeptical.
However, I've put the Aerolatte to the test and I have to say my credit card will not miss the almost daily $3.25 charge to Starbucks.
This gadget is a latte lover's dream. A flip of the switch, located at the end of its sleek satin handle, activates the whisk head, which I put directly into a small amount of half-and-half inside a coffee mug. The milk whirled and frothed into rich foam in 15 seconds flat, without spilling over the edge of the mug.
I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.
The Aerolatte's design is so simple. No knobs, no propeller blades and no steam. It comes pre-assembled in two colors -- satin chrome and cow print (which is dubbed the Aerolatte mooo) -- with a protective travel case and two AA batteries. Battery-operated means it cannot go in the dishwasher, but it's easy to wash the whisk end in warm, soapy water.
The gadget's instructions recommend that you use warm or hot milk to get good foam, but I didn't have a problem frothing up cool half-and-half. They also say the Areolatte can be used to whip raw eggs to prepare scrambled eggs or omelettes and it can be used for mixing quick-dissolving powder or syrup into a milkshake.
Of course the Aerolatte is not a latte machine, so you still need a separate coffee maker to get your morning cup of Joe. But when countertop latte machines cost upwards of $300, the Aerolatte is an inexpensive alternative that gets the milk frothing part of the job done -- priced at $19.99 on KitchenKapers.com.
Bonus: The Aerolatte is slightly larger than an electric toothbrush so it's slim enough to be a stocking stuffer and fit into your kitchen drawer.