Does the coffee for milk drinks really matter? - Page 2

Discuss flavors, brew temperatures, blending, and cupping notes.
nuketopia

#11: Post by nuketopia »

Yes. /thread
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bluesman

#12: Post by bluesman »

Bluenoser wrote:There is a huge difference in the beans.. I drink 75% cappuccinos and like a distinct chocolate Flavour. Really good roasters can create a blend that will really be enhanced with milk. Now the milk steamer (ie: the person) also makes a huge difference.. The milk, not so much.. I find whole, 2% and lactose-free all make great drinks.. The quality of the micro-foam and its temperature can greatly enhance the Flavour and texture of the drink. I have found that medium-dark roasts that look more like medium roasts are my preference. I stay away from the dark, oily roasts; although a few taste surprisingly good in milk..
That's exactly how I feel too. I'm loving Paradise Nuevo in my capps, as I did Redbird. I wasn't as happy with Malabar Gold in milk, although I love it straight. And I've tried many others that didn't make the cut, most recently Villager blend from One Village Roasters just outside of Philly (very nice but lost in a cappuccino).

I agree about the foam, too. When the weather got crazy hot a few weeks ago, the Rosenberger's whole milk we get at our local Acme just didn't foam smoothly and the capps didn't taste, feel, or even look as good. After 2 gallons in about 15 days, the one we got yesterday was much better (although still not what it usually is). We've had this before with multiple brands. The first time, I assumed the milk was bad, but it wasn't. After having this happen a few times with a few dairies, I realized it must be a cow problem like feed, heat, or something else. But whatever it is, when the foam's not rich and smooth, the drink doesn't taste as good.

I suspect the foaming process affects milk sugars, and therefore affects taste. But I'd love to hear other ideas - I have no factual basis for believing this other than a rudimentary knowledge of chemistry (it was my undergraduate major).

Nunas
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#13: Post by Nunas »

I suspect the foaming process affects milk sugars, and therefore affects taste. But I'd love to hear other ideas - I have no factual basis for believing this other than a rudimentary knowledge of chemistry (it was my undergraduate major).
We have had the same experience and wrote the dairy. They pointed out that milk is an organic product that depends on a lot of variables. Sometimes it is different, not bad, but different. I've no doubt this has something to do with the seasons and the feed, although the dairy did not give us any such detail. BTW, we've lived in many countries and have experienced this occasional failure to foam properly in most of them. In Indonesia and in New Zealand, we ran into specific brands of milk that would not foam nicely. I asked a barista in NZ about it and she said that they never use that brand (can't recall the name) as it often won't foam properly.

lmolter

#14: Post by lmolter »

I'm loving Paradise Nuevo in my capps
Has anyone used this coffee in a La Pavoni, and should I post this question in the Lever forum instead? But since I have your attention, I have a 16g portafilter and a Rancilio Rocky grinder. Any suggestions on the grind level, preinfusion, and pull times? BTW, replacing the Rocky with a 'real' grinder is not an option.

nuketopia

#15: Post by nuketopia »

Milk foam is a matrix of milk proteins and fats.

One of the things that greatly affect a milk's potential for microfoam is the method used for homogenizing the milk.

Fresh milk readily separates and the fat floats to the top. This is sometimes sold as "cream top" in the bottles. The fats form globules and come out of suspension and float as clumps to the top of the bottle. That leaves a lower-fat phase below the cream.

Homogenizing milk breaks up the fats so they don't separate readily. The process can be done in various ways, but spraying the milk through a small nozzle under very high pressure is the general idea. The tiny orifice and high pressure break up the fat into smaller particles. Some machines do this in a single step, some do two stages. Two stages will break the fat into smaller particles.

So - that's one difference between milk processors, which sometimes equates to the brand on the shelf. (store brands tend to buy from multiple vendors, some brands procure from different processors, some dairies process and brand only their own).

As milk ages in storage, the proteins degrade and the homogenized fats. That happens in your fridge and it also happens at the dairy. Milk is a commodity and it is sold to whoever wants to bottle it, and the price goes down as it ages. Again, this is what can be different among the brands on the shelf.

The best barista milk is very homogenized, has good fat content and good protein content, and freshness counts a lot.

What the cows eat also matters. The animal produces different fat whether it eats purely grass, or purely grain (not normal for dairy) or a mixed diet. The flavor of the milk also varies with the feed.

The other thing is pasteurizing or "ultra-pasteurizing". The ultra process gives very long shelf life, but changes the flavor and character of the milk. I find it completely unsuitable for coffee drinks. Then there's the ultimate insult, aseptic packaging, which are those boxed milk products that don't even need refrigeration. Avoid ultra-pasteurized and certainly, all aseptic packaged milk.

Different dairy processors use different methods of pasteurization. It has to meet your government's standards for health, but it can be done in different ways to preserve quality and flavor, or to make production faster and less expensive.

So there you go, more than you ever wanted to know about milk.

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bluesman

#16: Post by bluesman »

lmolter wrote:Has anyone used this coffee in a La Pavoni, and should I post this question in the Lever forum instead? But since I have your attention, I have a 16g portafilter and a Rancilio Rocky grinder. Any suggestions on the grind level, preinfusion, and pull times? BTW, replacing the Rocky with a 'real' grinder is not an option.
I grind it fairly finely, but I also use about 20 seconds of line pressure PI. I lift the brew lever to open the inlet just before taking out the milk and filling the pitcher. Then I watch for drops on the bottom of the basket, lift the lever all the way when the coffee's visible, and steam while the shot pours. Nuevo seems to grind easily and evenly in my Compak, but I don't know anything about a Rocky.

I use a 20 gm dose and pull 40 gm in about 50 seconds for a capp. I brew at about 203 on Eric's thermometer. This morning, we had a Zoom call with our son, who lives in Asia. I was in a hurry to get to the call and rushed the flush, so I brewed hot. The capp was definitely a little bitter and did not taste good. So, per the topic, the coffee matters in a milk drink.

I used to adjust the grinder for 30 from 20 in 35 seconds when I wanted a shot - but I discovered that it tastes great if I just stop the shot at 30 gm, so I got lazy.

rockethead26

#17: Post by rockethead26 »

nuketopia wrote:
...

What the cows eat also matters. The animal produces different fat whether it eats purely grass, or purely grain (not normal for dairy) or a mixed diet. The flavor of the milk also varies with the feed.
My wife and I drink caps and lattes and In the last few months I have settled on organic whole milk from 100% grass fed cows from two different farms. The milk tastes sweet and wonderful and the microfoam is consistently excellent. Upped the quality of our milk drinks for sure.

And the coffee definitely matters!!!