Mixing milk with espresso before pouring

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

#1: Post by Marc »

Hi guys!
Nice forum by the way, with amazing information!

I saw in some of my local caffé the barista mixing a bit of the steamed milk( 1 tsp or so) in the cup when making cappuccino before pouring. What's that for? Having a more homogeneous drink so the latte art is better?

Thanks!

wookie

#2: Post by wookie »

I haven't seen someone do this, perhaps someone else here will know. I'd just ask the barista. I can only imagine that it was one step in latte art etching technique.

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ChrisC

#3: Post by ChrisC »

It's because the first sip of a milk drink can be a little bitter due to the crema floating on top (which, as has been noted previously, is not the most delicious part of espresso). Mixing in a small amount of (liquid) milk and stirring the espresso and milk throughly before pouring the rest of the milk helps to alleviate this. Try it yourself at home both ways, and decide which you like better. The only downside is slightly reduced contrast for your latte art, but hopefully we all agree coffee should be about taste first and appearance second. :-)

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cannonfodder
Team HB

#4: Post by cannonfodder »

I believe a few pro's do this in the barista competitions. It is to reduce the crema bubbles when pouring latte art, or I could be completely wrong. I would need to look back through HB, there are other threads on the subject.
Dave Stephens

DavidMLewis
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#5: Post by DavidMLewis »

I would imagine that it's done for the same reason that cookbooks advise you to stir a spoonful of whipped egg white into something before you fold the rest in: it lightens the mix and makes it easier to incorporate the rest without collapsing the foam. It's going to affect the overall mouthfeel.

Best,
David (who rarely makes milk drinks, and whose latte art skills suck, so you might consider the value of my advice)

Nick

#6: Post by Nick »

Frankly, most professional baristas who do it do so because someone showed them the technique and they just copy it without thinking much about it.

While pouring latte art, it's generally good to have a good as-dark-brown-as-possible base to then draw your white milk-foam art on. You're generally drawing with the white design at about half-way full in the cup.

If you're relatively inexperienced at latte art, you can make the "mistake" of not having a well-formed coffee-stained-milk-foam brown base before you wiggle the pitcher to draw your art, in which case the art won't form as desired. Pouring a little from the milk pitcher into the espresso base and giving it a swirl helps establish this base, as well as promote a more "flat" brown base as well.

Hope this helps.
Nick
wreckingballcoffee.com
nickcho.com

ChrisC

#7: Post by ChrisC »

At Café Myriade in Montreal, it's definitely done consciously for taste. I was there when the decision was made. I believe Scott Rao's words were "every cappuccino I've ever had, the first sip was the worst."

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BradyButler

#8: Post by BradyButler »

Wow. Score one more for the HB community. Linking over to bX as we speak.

Thanks for this great tip, guys.
LMWDP #379
Carolina Espresso Services - "Quality Service for Espresso Equipment"

wookie

#9: Post by wookie »

ChrisC wrote:It's because the first sip of a milk drink can be a little bitter due to the crema floating on top ... The only downside is slightly reduced contrast for your latte art ...
Tried this & it works as suggested above. It produces a smoother cappuccino, so unless you are fond of the crema "bite" (typically bitter), it's an useful technique. I imagine that the difference will be more or less pronounced depending on what coffee is being used.

.

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Psyd

#10: Post by Psyd »

Nick wrote:Frankly, most professional baristas who do it do so because someone showed them the technique and they just copy it without thinking much about it.
First time I heard about it was from Heather at Klatch. I gotta say, you could do worse than to blindly emulate her technique...
Espresso Sniper
One Shot, One Kill

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