Things I’ve learned from UKBC 2016 | Choose your milk wisely

Like many other competitors I’ve been playing around with different milks to try and find the best one to yield the tastiest beverage. I’ll admit in the heats I went with the natural assumption that Jersey milk would taste the best. I’ve now tested this pretty thoroughly and decided it’s not true, for my tastes at-least.

The main thing to look at in milk is

Protein – to create and maintain good micro-foam allowing us to make latte art

Sugar – making the drink sweet

Fat – make the drink creamy

Fat is the main one to worry about. Too high, as in Jersey milk, it gives a creamy full body but I find it masks the flavour. It can taste enjoyable but often doesn’t present the coffee to the best it can be. Now I recently came to this conclusion myself and realised Cravendale – a filtered, high sugar, medium fat whole milk – is far better than high fat Jersey milk.

One thing that didn’t occur to me at the time was that it would be similar for semi-skimmed vs whole milk. Turns out it is, as presented by Dale Harris in his stellar routine this year. He used semi-skimmed milk to make a 7oz drink with a single shot and won best milk, so obviously it tasted good. I tried this recently and found I preferred a 9oz semi-skimmed latte to a 6oz Flat White, it had more flavour to it. Magic.

As Dale pointed out we can use this to lure-in the masses by offering bigger drinks, just like the chains. I have some reluctance to make anything too big though, you may have as many people misjudging you for big cups as will appreciate them. I think I’ll stick to the sizes I have already, I want to be as distinguishable from the chains as possible.

Instead I’ll apply it to problem I often have, a beautiful espresso on offer that doesn’t hold up too well in milk. Something I’ve been a little concerned about when buying super light and clean coffees, that I find make the best espresso, is that they become washed out and just plain milky after adding 6-8oz of steamed milk. By using semi-skimmed milk there is less fat to inhibit the flavour, meaning we can make customers a tastier drink without having to change our regular size of offering. Ain’t that handy?

Now we don’t have to be so scared about having a Scandinavian roasted Washed Ethiopian on bar, just use some semi-skim to make it shine.

I hope this isn’t something everyone else had already realised, I would have like to have known a lot sooner.


4 thoughts on “Things I’ve learned from UKBC 2016 | Choose your milk wisely

  1. says:

    I’ve been using low fat lactose free milk. Lactose free milk has lactase enzymes added which make it sweeter and the low fat content doesn’t get in the way of the flavor.


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