Making latte - milk first or espresso first?

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
matt1203

#1: Post by matt1203 » Feb 13, 2012, 9:31 am

any difference if I pour milk first, espresso later or vice versa??

Thanks

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HB
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#2: Post by HB » Feb 13, 2012, 9:53 am

Short answer: Steamed milk can wait 30+ seconds and be remixed if separated by swirling/thunking the pitcher. Espresso crema, on the other hand, suffers with every second and the barista can do nothing to slow the crema's degradation. For the best latte, milk should be combined with the espresso moments after the pour completes.

Long answer: Your profile doesn't include your equipment, but assuming a single boiler that does double duty for brewing and steaming, most agree that brewing first is better because it's more difficult to cool the boiler down to an accurate brew temperature than it is to raise it to steam temperature. The Gaggia New Baby that I reviewed recently was ready for steaming in less than a minute.

While it's not ideal to let the crema fade while the boiler comes up to steam temperature, it would be worse to try brewing with wildly inaccurate water temperature because the group was superheated moments ago.

Longer answer: See previous discussions like Brew espresso or steam milk first?, How long do you allow your espresso to sit before adding milk? and Mixing milk with espresso before pouring.
Dan Kehn

matt1203

#3: Post by matt1203 » Feb 15, 2012, 5:52 am

Thanks, but I was wondering if there is any difference pour the espreeso first adding milk on top or pour the milk first adding espresso shot afterwards. will there be any difference in taste?

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HB
Admin

#4: Post by HB » Feb 15, 2012, 8:23 am

I've only seen one barista add espresso to steamed milk and it was horrid. In fact, it was so bad, it motivated me to write The Worse Cappuccino I've Ever Had. That said, Jim offered one small consolation related to the practice:
another_jim wrote:I hate to admit this, but I used to foam up that eggwhite stuff myself before I knew any better. Pouring in the espresso over it actually helps, since it wets the foam. It would have been even worse if she had just put the dried out milk foam on top of the espresso
Even if the milk were properly steamed, I wouldn't recommend pouring the espresso over the top of milk because the two would not mix properly.
Dan Kehn

matt1203

#5: Post by matt1203 » Feb 15, 2012, 9:23 am

its funny, I still form the egg white stuff, I should learned better. great post. Thanks

Flasherly

#6: Post by Flasherly » Feb 15, 2012, 11:05 am

matt1203 wrote:Thanks, but I was wondering if there is any difference pour the espreeso first adding milk on top or pour the milk first adding espresso shot afterwards. will there be any difference in taste?
In South America they serve a latte with espresso extracted over steamed milk. Milk within the same clear glass it's just been steamed for a clean shot then pulled over. Neat. There is no need for various containers for pouring anything other than the milk initially into the glass. The steamed milk is composed of micro- and and macro-foam, so the end effect is the espresso, being lighter than milk, will settle between the two, for a three-layered concoction;- (Sic.) However appealing, or not, for actually drinking from a cultural vantage. An elongated, taller than wide glass is used, whereupon a sprig is then added for a top ornamental, probably mint. A pretty sight as I read it.

I follow a modified South American routine, however, in deference to the North American custom of mixing the espresso with milk. Only to an extant of not disturbing the topmost microfoam layer, after extraction, then by using a small ceramic knife to mix the espresso and microfoam beneath. A latte, only without the bother of more containers or artwork to amuse myself, as it were, for another yumyum, fast one for Flash.

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takeshi

#7: Post by takeshi » Feb 15, 2012, 12:38 pm

matt1203 wrote:Thanks, but I was wondering if there is any difference pour the espreeso first adding milk on top or pour the milk first adding espresso shot afterwards. will there be any difference in taste?
I'd say yes but you can easily confirm this yourself. Use both methods and see if you can tell a difference.

bigbad

#8: Post by bigbad » Mar 08, 2012, 2:31 am

HB wrote:The person behind the counter let rip on a pitcher of milk with screeching that audibly demonstrated the true origins of the cafe's name. Then she proceeded to scoop the airest, driest foam possible into a large beer pint glass.

Hmm-m, I figured this was her misguided way of recovering from a horribly gashed attempt at microfoam. I mean, you're not going to put that stuff in what I'm supposed to drink, right? Oh no, more was to come... she dumps more milk into the pitcher and repeats the same sequence -- three times. :-o

She then pours a shot overtop the frothy head of bubbles. At first I thought it was a cruel joke she metted out to American tourists. Alas we watched later in stunned bewilderment as she prepares drink after drink in this same twisted fashion.
Hysterical stuff. :lol:

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CoruscatingCoffee

#9: Post by CoruscatingCoffee » Mar 09, 2012, 11:34 pm

I just watched the DVD from my new La Pavoni Professional and it says to add the espresso to the steamed milk. I'm just sayin' that you can do whatever works for you.
"Make me one with everything" said the Zen Master to the hot dog vendor.

hudsterboy

#10: Post by hudsterboy » Mar 11, 2012, 11:12 am

I was watching Argento's "Deep Red" last night. In one scene, it looks like the barista steams milk in a glass (on a very sweet 2 group E61), then is about to pour a shot on top. Maybe Jet Fuel lady learned from this movie.