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  • Art, Milk Texture and Taste

    I was at a well known coffee house in Sydney yesterday with my parents, and all three of us ordered milk drinks. Each drink came with a very nice rosetta - better by far than what I can fluke at home on a good day.

    I encouraged them to try it before they decided to add sugar, which they did. To my surprise my mums response was "you make really good coffee". I took a mouthful of my own coffee and was surprised at the lack of sweetness and texture of the milk in my mouth vs what I do at home. It was by no means a bad coffee, just not the level I would have expected.

    My theory (that Im hoping someone can confirm) is that optimal art milk doesnt necessarily result in optimal taste milk.

    Any thoughts?

    Grant

  • #2
    Re: Art, Milk Texture and Taste

    Hi Grant,

    I think that theory is bollocks! and that its most likely just the brand and type of milk in use.  Probably most likely just the brand

    cheers,
    James

    (EDIT: speeling)

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Art, Milk Texture and Taste

      The only thing I can think of is that if the milk is cooler than normal (optimal for latte art) then the milk wont taste as sweet. Something to do with the higher temp making the sugars (ie lactose) taste sweeter in the milk.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Art, Milk Texture and Taste

        my wife commented yesterday that the taste of the milk from the new Ikon machine at our shop was a lot creamier than we get from our 6910 at home. I have commented that the Ikon is a lot more powerful than the 6910 (and it has a 2 hole spout) and requires a different technique to steam milk and has different sounds. Milk brand is the same.

        I would hazzard a guess that the differing speed at which milk is heated plays a part in the taste?

        who knows

        Sen

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Art, Milk Texture and Taste

          Originally posted by 72444F40554E53210 link=1231884504/3#3 date=1231893172
          my wife commented yesterday that the taste of the milk from the new Ikon machine at our shop was a lot creamier than we get from our 6910 at home. I have commented that the Ikon is a lot more powerful than the 6910 (and it has a 2 hole spout) and requires a different technique to steam milk and has different sounds. Milk brand is the same.

          I would hazzard a guess that the differing speed at which milk is heated plays a part in the taste?

          who knows

          Sen
          I moved from a 6910 to a VBM and found a huge taste difference in the milk. From what I was told, it is that the VBM steam is drier, i.e. introduces less water into the milk. Which kinda makes sense

          B

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Art, Milk Texture and Taste

            Originally posted by 5D565A415245370 link=1231884504/1#1 date=1231887934
            its most like just the brand and type of milk in use
            Theres not enough room in this thread for logic thankyou very much!

            Grant

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Art, Milk Texture and Taste

              Originally posted by 54405B5C55576D5645575E5E5740320 link=1231884504/0#0 date=1231884504
              I was at a well known coffee house in Sydney yesterday with my parents, and all three of us ordered milk drinks. Each drink came with a very nice rosetta - better by far than what I can fluke at home on a good day.

              I encouraged them to try it before they decided to add sugar, which they did. To my surprise my mums response was "you make really good coffee". I took a mouthful of my own coffee and was surprised at the lack of sweetness and texture of the milk in my mouth vs what I do at home. It was by no means a bad coffee, just not the level I would have expected.

              My theory (that Im hoping someone can confirm) is that optimal art milk doesnt necessarily result in optimal taste milk.

              Any thoughts?

              Grant
              It is easier to pour latte art with thinner milk. If you see a photo of a rosetta on the internet with fifty very fine leaves, chances are that the layer of froth is very thin. I probably prefer more froth than that and Im sure that Im not alone.

              Andrew came up with an awesome drink at Maltitude shortly after he made his first bottomless portafilter. We noticed that the Guinness effect seemed to be more pronounced with espresso from the bottomless portafilter, so Andrew came up with the idea of having two baristi make a piccolo latte so that the steam was cut as soon as the shot was, the milk was poured instantly, without waiting for the milk to split, and served to the customer eagerly waiting two feet away from the espresso machine. In this way, you get to drink the drink as both the crema and the foam split from the underlying liquid and latte art is basically impossible.

              Originally posted by 58535F445740320 link=1231884504/1#1 date=1231887934
              Hi Grant,

              I think that theory is bollocks! and that its most likely just the brand and type of milk in use. Probably most likely just the brand

              cheers,
              James

              (EDIT: speeling)
              Seems like a very good hypothesis to me!

              The other reason why commercial coffee could be tasting bad at the moment is simply the temperature. Australian summer heat can be an absolute nightmare for coffee storage in cafes if it isnt managed cleverly. Again, Andrew had a brainwave to contribute here - he stores his stuff in a wine fridge during the summer. Other shrewd cafe owners might simply look for the coolest place in the cafe or use a styrofoam box.

              Finally, theres every possibility that something was simply buggered up. I mean, people bugger things up all the time at home!

              Cheers,

              Luca

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Art, Milk Texture and Taste

                I have noticed the milk I stuff up (comes out thinner) and seems to sit underneath the foam with a very thin layer of foam on top tastes like normally heated hot milk with coffee. I personally hate this look and taste sometimes pouring them down the sink. If I can then rectify this with a slightly better texture it is not just the look that changes but the flavour of the Flat white changes too IMO anyway.

                Cheers

                Chris

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Art, Milk Texture and Taste

                  hhmm some thoughts as i read...
                  1. latte art does not mean great coffee because you need a good espresso/ristreto base for great coffee. milk hides some flaws, but not all.
                  2. moto coffee: milk LOSES sweetness the hotter it gets. roughly speaking, milk steamed to 60-65deg will be a heck of a lot sweeter than milk steamed to 70-75 deg. im pretty sure thats fact.
                  3. different milks (lets say comparing various brands of full cream) taste different in a variety of ways. two that come to mind are sweetness and mouthfeel/creaminess
                  4. luca - i think i understand what andrew at maltitude was doing with having two baristi simulatnaeously taking care of milk and the shot, and yes, a naked handle produces airier crema, but its not all THAT hard to have one barista set up his/her milk jug prior to dosing up, and then starting the shot as s/he starts the milk. milk is going to be done before the shot is (assuming decent steam from the machine), cut steam, cut shot, pour together, etc... so i dont QUITE get what makes andrews effort all that different, with respect to andrew of course. can you clarify?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Art, Milk Texture and Taste

                    roknee, what you say about milk losing sweetness is true but I was talking about the difference between 45-55 (supposedly a better temp for latte art) and 60-65 which is generally considered the ideal temp for coffee consumption.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Art, Milk Texture and Taste

                      ok motocoffee, so youre saying that milk sweetness increases up to a point (60-65deg) and then decreases.....i guess i dont usually pour milk (even for art) at those kinds of temps you talk of. youre probably right though!
                      cheers
                      aaron

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Art, Milk Texture and Taste

                        My understanding is that in latte art competitions they use temps that are much lower than what you would usually drink coffee at. Apparently it makes it easier to come up with the designs.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Art, Milk Texture and Taste

                          I really enjoy my cappucinos, when the coffee does have at least 1/4 or 1/3 creamy microfoam. I love sipping 1/2 the foam with chocolate off my spoon then stirring the rest of it through my coffee. Hence my total dislike of the trend these days of sending out flat cappucinos that are under temperature with only about 3mls of foam all so that people can oooh and aaah over the pattern. For one thing, as my coffee now resembles a flat white, the taste has been spoiled for me with the addition of an extra 20 to 30mls milk. The temperature is more at about 55 degrees (too cool for my liking) while the microfoam is watery and not enough of.
                          At our cafe, our cappucino, flat white and latte drinkers are evenly split. We send out art on flat whites and lattes and just lots of chocolate and chocolate shavings on our cappucinos. The flat white and lattes are at about 60 degrees and the cappucinos at about 63 degrees.
                          When Im out drinking coffee, as soon as I see a really detailed leaf pattern, I know Im going to have a very disappointing cappucino.

                          SC64

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Art, Milk Texture and Taste

                            Microfoam size retention changes at higher temps if not carefully managed. To explain in a broad way: at low temps, accidental slightly larger bubbles are able to be generally reincorporated, however at higher temps they dont reincorporate down to microfoam level. Thus the risk is less at lower levels - around the typical 55*C.

                            Ive personally found that going much above 55*C increases the risk level for me. I can reach 60*C at a stretch, but certainly when Im requested to reach 70*C, latte art microfoam becomes too big a challenge. Im no professional barista however, so Im sure Luca will have more to offer.

                            Im surprised youre receiving art on cappas SC64.

                            Having said that, I can quite happily pour art with the cappa depth microfoam ratio you mention, but they are much wider leaves and less well defined than those possible on latte/temp/depth microfoam because the depth of the microfoam rebounding and settling during the art pour affects the definition of the leaves. Which, I guess, is why art generally isnt poured on cappas.

                            Back to the taste question: I love properly microfoamed milk with coffee. To me, its not just ratios. The creamy texture and partial incorporation of the crema/coffee oils/solids is a fabulous introduction to the next mouthful or two when the richer fuller flavours reach into all areas of the mouth. And, yes, milk quality plays a large part in that too.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Art, Milk Texture and Taste

                              My point exactly. I shouldnt be getting art on cappas....when I see art (usually chocolate shaken followed by pour resulting in rosetta), then I know that Im going to get something in between a flat white and latte , approx 5mls) with chocolate pattern.
                              My husband drinks flat whites so more often than not nowadays, we both end up with the same thing.
                              Being in the industry, I dont really make a thing about it as I realise that achieving art seems to be the "Holy Grail" nowadays. It just really makes it that much more delicious when I do receive an "old school" cappucino with creamy dense microfoam, approximately 60 to 63 degrees and lots of chocolate on top and definitely NO ART.

                              SC64

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