Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Rich Sweet Milk

There are three main properties that affect how the milk tastes in a cappuccino and latte.  
Fat content is high on the agenda - and the reason is that the fat carries the flavour. Think french food - loads of butter and cream.  This is the richness.  
The higher the fat content the richer the texture in the mouth.

The sweetness comes from the lactose (disacharides).. this natural sweetness in milk is accentuated with heat, as the milk is heated the natural sugars are more obvious to the senses. Now heat is another discussion.. and something we touched on last autumn.  Suffice to say that if you over heat the milk, you'll ruin the texture of the milk.  There is a key temperature for this.  Its 65 degrees celsius.  Anything above this makes the milk split into a dry foam and boiled milk.  

The last factor is protein. Protein comes in simple terms as grass, and specifically grass feeding.  Cows fed on a high grass diet will produce higher protein milk.  This is essential for the milk texture.  As you heat the milk you release the proteins. Again too hot and the milk splits and loses its texture. 

For really great milk try different varieties.  Avonmore sell milk that has consistently high values in protein and lactose.  Other suppliers like Adare farm foods sell organic whole milk - loads of natural proteins, happy cows, rich and creamy.

The most important thing is to find what you like.  The sensory taste and texture is really important when making coffee.  If you can deliver this texture and mouthfeel regardless of latte art and all that fancy stuff, you will have great tasting coffee.

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