Does milk affect espresso?

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
Espresso33

#1: Post by Espresso33 »

If i dial in a cappuccino thats very good. Is the espresso then also good? Reason i ask cos regular espresso is way too strong for me right now, so i only drink milk based coffees. I mean, does milk somehow alter the taste of the espresso in terms of balance, bitter/sourness etc.

Another way to put it could also be - Does the perfect espresso make the best cappuccino/latte? Or is the espresso dialed in different tastewise when its a base for adding milk

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Kaffee Bitte

#2: Post by Kaffee Bitte »

Milk drinks take a big heavy blanket and wraps it around the coffee. It's generally understood that milk covers many barista errors. Almost like it takes a razor and cuts out all delicate flavors.

In order then to get the espresso to cut through milk's interference many shops will have a darker house blend they use for this purpose. Or if not darker, a blend with high body and mouth feel.
Lynn G.
LMWDP # 110
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DeGaulle

#3: Post by DeGaulle »

Espresso33 wrote:Another way to put it could also be - Does the perfect espresso make the best cappuccino/latte? Or is the espresso dialed in different tastewise when its a base for adding milk
Generally speaking, I do not think that that is necessarily the case. Some might argue that to make the coffee flavors emerge through the milk, a ristretto shot (i.e. dialed in with a finer grind) may be a better basis for a cappuccino than a normale. Personally, I find that, depending on the bean and roast level, a straight ristretto when dialed in just right make a sweeter shot as well; such that you forget how strong it is.
Bert

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HB
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#4: Post by HB »

Espresso33 wrote:Or is the espresso dialed in different tastewise when its a base for adding milk
Since milk adds sweetness and dilutes, espressos that are too "edgy" straight can be perfect with milk. Some espressos can thread the needle and be just as good with milk as straight up, but most espresso blends favor one preparation over the other.
Kaffee Bitte wrote:In order then to get the espresso to cut through milk's interference many shops will have a darker house blend they use for this purpose.
So true! I am assuming small milk proportions, not "big gulp" lattes that are popular at some US cafes.
Dan Kehn

pizzaman383
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#5: Post by pizzaman383 »

If you taste every shot before adding milk you will rather quickly acclimate to the taste of espresso and you will be able to get a feel for the difference milk makes. Just give your espresso a quick stir, leave a little bit on the spoon, and slurp it off the spoon.
Curtis
LMWDP #551
“Taste every shot before adding milk!”

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Kaffee Bitte

#6: Post by Kaffee Bitte »

HB wrote: So true! I am assuming small milk proportions, not "big gulp" lattes that are popular at some US cafes.
With you on the smaller proportions. I prefer the thirds of a cappaccino or 50/50. Anything over that and the coffee disappears.

At work it's easy to tell the real espresso lovers. Always a 12 ounce or smaller unless they are adding shots.
Lynn G.
LMWDP # 110
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iyayy

#7: Post by iyayy »

yes.
depends on beans and brew methods, it can complement (awesome) or go against each other (why a lot of people dont like light roasts and milk).