Multiple Back to Back Milk Drinks on a Home Setup

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.

#1: Post by Learninginlondon »

Hi all, question for those here used to higher volume environments.

What would be your optimal process on a home machine (I have a Linea Mini but any other similar setup) for e.g. making 4 milk drinks at once? Would you pull four shots and then steam one large pitcher or is there a rule of thumb as to how to do this?

I presume most of the temperature one experiences in a milk drink is the milk's temperature given relative volume but there maybe a cutoff where the underlying espresso gets too cool.

I personally don't drink a lot of milk based coffee hence the question.

Thanks for the advice

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#2: Post by HB »

If you're willing to split a double, you could do two at a time, though getting the milk consistent across two drinks is harder than doing one at a time. When I cater, I always do each drink start to finish. With practice, you can overlap the pour time and steam time, especially with a Linea Mini since the steaming time is less than pour time, except for "big gulp" lattes. From the La Marzocco Linea Mini Review:
HB wrote:For commercial and semi-commercial espresso equipment, part of the review process includes serving a large group of people. This morning I brought the La Marzocco Linea Mini and Compak K10 to a local car dealership for their "cars & coffee" event. Encouraged by the warm and sunny weather, the turnout was good. The washed out photo below shows the backlog of eight drink orders waiting for my attention:

The ordering system is simple: Write your name and desired drink on a cup and place it on top of the espresso machine. There's only one size cup (~10 ounces), no syrups, and sugar is available in the service area around back if you really want it. Over the course of 2.5 hours, I went through three 12 ounce bags of Counter Culture Coffee's Big Trouble and two gallons of milk... Despite the backlong of drinks, the workflow with the Linea Mini was easy, thanks to its prodigious steam capacity. I used a 12 ounce pitcher and added ~6 ounces for cappuccinos and ~8 ounces for lattes. I could lock in the portafilter, start the extraction, confirm the pour proceeded as expected, and still have enough time to finishing steaming before it was time to stop the extraction.
Dan Kehn

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Learninginlondon (original poster)

#3: Post by Learninginlondon (original poster) »

This is great thank you. I guess in that environment one just calibrates grinder to a time that is accurate enough in terms of output and things like WDT less necessary.

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#4: Post by HB »

When I'm catering, I either use a grinder with a timer and dial it in precisely beforehand, or use a doser and strike-swipe the basket. It would be ridiculously slow to add machinations like the WDT when there's 5+ people waiting, though I suppose it's doable with only 4. Honestly, most people drinking lattes or cappuccinos will be more pleased about perfectly textured milk than anything else.
Dan Kehn

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#5: Post by SteveRhinehart »

I concur with Dan's thoughts here. Speed of service is an important detail and while splitting milk between drinks is doable it is not always as efficient as a clean workflow that allows you to finish one drink per customer in about 60-80 seconds. There is somewhat more leeway for service time in events or farmers market service than there is in a retail cafe, but that depends on customer expectations as much as anything. If you have a machine that struggles to keep up with back to back milk drinks (a LMLM should be fine in my experience unless the power supply is lackluster) you might have to intentionally pace more slowly and build in time to engage with customers as you work so they feel like things are still moving along.

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BaristaBoy E61

#6: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

I too concur with Dan that the most I would attempt with a 1-group Prosumer machine in a home environment would be 2-shots with a double spouted portafilter and steaming milk for no more than 2-shots as well.

The only other thing I would suggest might be to have some trained and efficient help that won't impede your work flow yet contribute in a positive way to shortening your delivery time. This might include rinsing, washing, drying, cold milk into pitcher pouring, preparing cups & saucers, etc.

You get the idea.
"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"

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#7: Post by Nunas »

I do it both ways. Generally, I do two doppios, one after the other, into two 6-ounce cappuccino cups and split a jug of textured milk between them. I do this every morning. But, when we have company, sometimes it's nicer to take four cups to the table all at once. In this case, I want to avoid the first cup being noticeably 'older' than the last. So, I pull two doppio splits into two cups, then two more into two more cups. I have a big foaming jug that holds enough milk to turn these into four 6-ounce cappuccinos.