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Milk: the special secret ingredient

One question that most owners of specialty coffee equipment frequently ask today is, “How can I get a creamy milk froth?”

The type of milk used, along with its fat content, is not actually that important. Using UHT milk, whole milk, 2% milk or skim has no impact on the consistency of the foam. The foam comes from the milk’s protein, not its fat. Different fat content merely affects the taste of the milk, and you can vary that according to your own taste (or that of your customers).

The main criterion for frothing milk is the temperature. The ideal temperature for the milk to start out with is 4 degrees to 8 degrees centigrade. If the milk is too hot, it will reach the end temperature too quickly during the “stretching” process and will leave too little time for the “rolling” phase. The rolling phase, when the milk is stirred into the froth that’s been created, starts at about 37 degrees centigrade. The ideal temperature range begins at 65 degrees centigrade.

If the temperature is too high (70 degrees centigrade or above) the proteins start to coagulate and the milk froth collapses. The lactose also begins to burn, which gives the milk and milk froth a bitter aftertaste. Note: Whether the milk has a fat content of 3.5% or 1.5%, it will only affect the taste.

It is the percentage of protein in the milk (at best, not less than 3.3 mg per 100 ml) that determines whether you make frothed milk or a silky crema latte. For the latter, the ideal temperature is between 65.5 degrees and 70 degrees centigrade.

We wish you lots of frothy fun! You’ll see how easy it is.

 

Milk is an essential component for the preparation of a variety of coffee specialities.