Whether you’re traveling through South India or across Latin America, the majority of coffee options call for an added dairy or alternative milk addition. Many years ago, dairy was added to coffees to up people’s calorie intake compared to today where people just like it for the flavor and aesthetic.
So, what’s the story surrounding milk coffee drinks that make them so appealing?
Milk has three essential components that add smoothness. Those components are fat, sugar (from lactose) and proteins. Combined, those components enhance the flavour and produce a different type of aroma too. The lactose in milk breaks down into a sweet flavour when it’s heated up, and the protein in milk binds together with the fat to give it a silky looking texture.
The fats in the coffee are said to enrich a coffee ‘mouth feel’. As soon as you add milk to coffee, you change its texture and smoothness. Flavor itself is said to be constructed of volatile components in which fat affects how these react with your tongue. This is where we get our coffee notes and flavors from as the fat is said to draw out nutty or chocolaty flavors in coffee.
The proteins are said to ‘soften’ the coffee’s bitterness by attaching to tannins, polyphenolic compounds, that give coffee a harsh taste. Milk coffees lessen the acidity and enhancement the body and flavor of coffee.
Dry vs. wet milk
Coffee orders can be confusing, and that’s even before you are asked how you’d like your coffee made. When it comes to milk based coffees, you will either want your coffee to be ‘wet’ or ‘dry’. For example, you may hear people ask, ‘Please may I have a dry cappuccino?’ or ‘I’d love a wet flat white please’.
Wet milk is creamier as it has been steamed with little aeration. This makes it ideal for a flat white, cortado or latte milk based coffee. Dry milk however has been frothed and aerated for longer. Not only will there be more froth but the coffee will stay warmer for longer as the froth insulates the drink and brings out the bitterness more in the espresso shot. Each coffee shop will make their milk coffees differently so some people will like to tell you how they specifically like their coffee.
The art of perfect milk foam for milk based coffee drinks
There is an art to perfectly heating milk to get the right flavour and texture in coffee and people all over the world argue over what temperature really is right when it comes to milk based coffee. Some believe that 70 degrees Celsius is best, others swearing by 65 degrees Celsius. A quality industrial milk steamer with a “frothing function” will steam and froth milk in two stages. First is the process of aerating or ‘stretching’, introducing air to the milk. This produces micro-foam and increases the milks volume. The second stage is emulsifying, which mixes in the microfoam and creates a rich, thick and smooth milk.
Iced coffee drinks with cold milk foam
Then there are cold coffee drinks with frothy cold milk. These modern milky coffee drinks cannot be prepared by hand-frothing (manually with a steam wand). This milk preparation is known as “cold foam” and requires a commercial milk frother. Are you in the market for milk frother? Then skip to the bottom paragraph to find out more about Latte Art Factory. Cold foam is used in iced coffee drinks – such as an Iced Latte.
How to froth milk alternatives
There are plenty of people who are lactose intolerant or vegan. Luckily there are numerous non-dairy barista milk alternatives available today. While a quality coffee machine is essential, an experienced barista will know how to froth alternative milks to stop them curdling, as they may react differently to dairy milk. Alternative milks include nut milks (almond, cashew, coconut), soy milk or oat milk. These types of drinks need high quality professional milk foamers that can cope with different temperatures and textures. Having the right milk frothing machine for coffee shops is really important, especially during busy periods.
Best machines for speeding up your milk frothing and steaming process
If you are looking for a milk frothing machine that will improve your workflow, efficiency and speed of delivery, without compromising the quality of coffee you produce, then we have the machine for you. Allow us to introduce the Latte Art Factory’s milk frother. It is the leading milk foaming machine on the market, that allows you to make any milk foam texture from any milk type.
With this machine, you will be able to serve perfect foam at the optimum temperature, optimize workflows without leaving customers waiting for ages, reduce your wastage and save money. It also has full HACCP compliance, with an automated water flush of the system after every order. Furthermore, this assures that no non-dairy alternative milk-based coffee is contaminated with dairy milk and vice versa.