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.