First Impressions – Milk Temperature

1 Mar

So after hearing “Jimseven” (James Hoffmann) talking about the optimal milk temperature of a traditional 6oz cappuccino, I became inspired to investigate and actually determine where the “sweet-spot” was [pun intended!].

This morning, I stuck a thermometer into two separate 6oz cappuccinos I made, the same way I always do for myself.
[parameters are usually ~28-29grams of liquid espresso from ~19grams of coffee and ~110-115grams of milk]

NOTE: I want to be clear here, I make sure the milk is cooler at home than at the cafe (because people get angry when their coffee isn’t hot).

Right, so the usual temperature I use for myself by feeling it out with my hand kept landing at ~115°F.
Now that is much lower than I would expect to see in a cafe where the recommended is ~145°F.


Final drink temperature ~115°F

Final drink temperature ~115°F

Over the next week or two I plan to sample everywhere from 100°F to 140°F and then post my results.

Perhaps this could become a group effort, leave it in the comments if you have any suggestions, feedback or want to get involved with this.


3 Responses to “First Impressions – Milk Temperature”

  1. Mike March 1, 2011 at 5:56 pm #

    My preference for years has been towards the colder side which caused me to be smug after that Jimseven post, although I really have not studied this topic at all.

    You’re much braver than I am tackling milk. Something I haven’t really studied the way that I would like.

    Here are a few questions that come to mind around milk temperature:

    1) Does the temperature prefernce change with the amount of stretching that you do? In other words, would you do different temps for a latte and a cappa?
    2) How does the milk temperature correlate with the cup temperature. I tend to do warm on both, but maybe doing a really hot cup might be nice?
    3) Milk quanitity might also effect preferences. I usually stick with the 6 OZ cappas.
    4) The milk itself would most likely effect preferences a bit.

    How’s that for trying to confuse matters as much as possible 😉

    I’ll try to come back with some of my tests and thoughts on this, but I’m really looking forward to yours.

    • MattCReynolds March 1, 2011 at 6:09 pm #

      Excellent response Mike.

      I hadn’t thought about stretching much, but I’ll be adding it in to the variables now.
      It will mostly remain consistent as I will be sticking to the 6oz Traditional Cappuccino, to control as many variables as possible (for now).

      Thus, milk ranges should be in the 110grams to 125 grams liquid, combined with a double of espresso [which is held consistent] ~28-30grams liquid.
      I will be using whole milk (which I now realize may differ from other producers around the world)…

      As for temperatures, I will mainly be recording final drink temperature (this accounts for the espresso, cup, and milk). This will be the most straightforward way to attack this for now.

      Hope this helps so far, and keep us updated with some of your thoughts and results.

      – Matt

  2. Mike March 3, 2011 at 1:41 pm #

    After warming my milk up to the default temperature I tend to like it at, I got out the old thermometer out this morning, and took the in cup temperature – 111 degrees Fahrenheit. Can’t say how calibrated the instrument is. In terms of other parameters, I didn’t measure as precisely, but here they are: double shot of espresso extracted at between 25 and 32 grams of liquid, warm 6 ounce ANCAP cup, and whole generic milk.

    My next steps will be to try to increase and decrease the temperatures and will let you know. Best.

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