Ideal serving temperature for steamed milk - Page 2

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
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#11: Post by dsc »

Hi guys,

I never really understood people who want scalding hot milk. What's the deal with that? so you can drink after 20min? if you buy a coffee drink it straight away, not after a while, not after a chat with your friend about where she bought those lovely shoes, not after touching-up your make-up, not after going to the loo.

Good tips on heating the cups, also remember to whack them across the head when they ask for scalding hot.


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#12: Post by misterdoggy »

I only drink Latte's and Milk frothing is my speciality. I've got it down to a science "for me" and people that come to my home.

I heat to 160 and stop.... Its stays hot long enough to serve and drink slowly. 140 is way too low IMHO. 160 is nice and drinkable right away and not burning hot, just right perfect every time ...

Another aspect to consider is what type of milk people are using. You are not going to get the same results with half creme, full and skim.

I use only skim milk, but its French Skim milk so it really tastes good without the fat, known as "ecreme"

Very easy to froth to a microfoam, and tastes great in Lattes, but at 160 degrees :)

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#13: Post by Psyd »

IMAWriter wrote:We have a "dummy" fader, and scoot it up about an inch. The next play-back, they say, "OK, much better."
Referred to as 'Phantom Mixing'. All engineers do it. I used to leave a strip free in the middle of the monitor console so that when the deaf guitarist started spitting on me I could look over at him all concerned-like, twaddle with some knobs in the middle of the console, and just keep looking concerned until I got the nod from him. Works every time.
Milk temp is *somewhat* subjective, and I'm pretty sure that you can't tell someone that they're preferring their coffee wrong. That's a bit 'I'm the all-powerful center of my universe!" for me... I usually steam until the pitcher is uncomfortable to hold. If you can hold it in your hand without squirming, it'll feel a bit cooler once it's in the cup. If you steam until you can't keep your hand on it, you should be right in the ballpark. My money is on 150-165F with that technique.
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#14: Post by malachi »

misterdoggy wrote:I only drink Latte's and Milk frothing is my speciality. I've got it down to a science "for me" and people that come to my home.

I heat to 160 and stop.... Its stays hot long enough to serve and drink slowly. 140 is way too low IMHO. 160 is nice and drinkable right away and not burning hot, just right perfect every time ...
You're probably going over 160, especially if you're using a thermometer.
And even at 160, you're drastically reducing the sweetness of the milk.
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

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Team HB

#15: Post by cannonfodder »

Carryover temperature is something you should keep in mind. Even If you stop steaming at 140F, you are going to have several degrees of carryover. Just as in cooking, if it is done in the pan, it will be overcooked on the plate. Different machines heat faster so the carryover temperature will vary but as a general rule the faster the steamer, the higher the carryover has been my observation. It also changes with volume. 8 ounces of milk will not carryover as high as say 20 ounces, again my observation. I have not thermocouple'd milk to study the thermals, just observation over the past few years. I usually stop around 140F on my machine and it carries over another 5-8 degrees after I stop steaming.

I like to drink my cappa after making it, and 160+ degree milk is just too hot. I would let it sit and cool a bit before I drank it. I dont use a thermometer any longer but now and then I will show off and steam some milk, proudly proclaim the temperature then put in the thermometer. Most of the time I am within a couple of degrees, sometimes I feel like an idiot, but it is fun nonetheless.

So keep in mind that when someone says they stop steaming at 140, they are probably getting 145-148 because of carryover and thermometer lag. I dont care for milk over 150-155, it goes flat IMHO, and lower than 140 it does not develop.
Dave Stephens


#16: Post by clausbmortensen »

It's a matter of personal preference of course, but I find that milk generally reaches its full level of sweetness around 55 degrees celsius (about 131F). Anything above 90C (140F) it goes downhill quickly.

That's also the way Italians tend to like it - but to each their own of course: ... insection1

And as misterdoggy said, you may also find that the optimal temperature varies slightly depending on the choice of milk. BTW - oddly enough - many French cafes actually use UHT milk for their au laits and cafe cremes (not that the French variations of coffee are necessarily benchmarks to aspire for :D ).

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#17: Post by misterdoggy »

Let me clarify that 160 is the temperature not 165. I stop on the way up using a thermometer and the needle continues to rise after.

I like it hot enough to take small sips, but it would be too hot to take gulps. But who wants to gulp their latte's.

I'm in Italy all the time and live 1 hour from the border, and yes its true that the latte's are probably luke warm at best and very foamy. I always ask where they get their beans and am always surprised to hear some commercial brand.

I always wondered why the spaghetti, and coffee was so much better when you go over the border and I can only attribute it to the water. They must have different water. Like the H&H bagels in New York that no bagel anywhere else can compare. It must be the water :)

Anyhow, not to get too far off subject, in the end, I believe that rather fitting a formula, you have artistic liberty to make the cup the way you like it, strength, foam, and temperature. 160 does not cut the sweetness out of my milk or I wouldn't do it, caus I like it sweet.

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#18: Post by cannonfodder »

I guess that is the problem with a commercial establishment. Everyone has their own preference. You just have to find what the bulk of your customers like and keep with it. A regular customer may have their own taste and the barista could steam to the temperature they prefer but you would not want to ask every person if they wanted warm, hot or magma milk. I like my drinks on the slightly cooler side so I can enjoy them right from the machine and not let them sit and cool. After I drink down one, I just make another.
Dave Stephens

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Compass Coffee

#19: Post by Compass Coffee replying to cannonfodder »

Indeed would be crazy asking each customer how hot they wanted their milk steamed. The preponderance wouldn't have a clue the actual milk temp they like anyway. I'd estimate less than 5% ask for their latte etc. "hot" and less than that "cool". FWIW our target temp is 145f final temp (after coast). When someone asks for extra hot we'll push it to ~160f max.
Mike McGinness, Head Bean (Owner/Roast Master)