Milk temperature has been an age old debate amongst baristas and coffee drinkers. We've decided, we're going to standardize all our milk temperatures and attempt to put this debate to rest. This is the language we've come up with for different degrees of temperature.
Kids: 120F/50C - 130F/55C. This is approachable and safe. There is little direct heat involved and mostly just warmth. It's a nice consumption temperature for your young ones, or if you like to drink your cappuccinos on the cooler side of things.
Standard: 140F/60C - 160F/70C. Temperature is not the first aspect you'll note when consuming a drink at this level. You'll note the added sweetness in the milk as the lactose is breaking down. The espresso will compliment the steamed milk, creating a harmonious balance of coffee and milk. This is for the 'drink to stay'. This is also the window we'll heat to if no mention of temperature has been noted.
Extra Hot: 167F/75C. This temperature realm needs a sleeve on it's cup. It's perfect for a cold day when you have to walk back to your office, or if you're taking a drink across town for a friend. Multiple drinks to go - yep, extra hot!
Red Hot: 185F/85C. This is scorching. It's not listed here for everybody, just those with little to no sensation on their tongue. Y'know, the person that always asks for it a little bit hotter. Just a little bit hotter? Not for the fainthearted.
Iced: On the rocks. Nearly all of our coffee menu is available iced. Whether it's the hottest day of Summer or in the dead of Winter, we should have ice available for you. For these drinks, we do not steam or texture the milk. We'll first put the ice in the cup, milk or water next, espresso on top.
*note: these temperatures apply across the board for our entire menu. Be it cappuccino, latte, flat white, mocha, etc.
Aside from temperature, I thought it might be nice to discuss what's actually happening when we steam milk, to best understand how temperature plays into that. There are three crucial components when it comes to the chemistry behind texturing milk - lactose, fats and proteins. These three components are the reason we can change the texture, sweetness and consistency through the addition of steam.
Lactose contributes to the sweetness of milk. By definition, it's a milk sugar. It's less soluble than regular sugar, which our bodies are so used to consuming, BUT when temperature is added, the sweetness is unlocked and the flavour changes. Similar to when your parents used to heat milk for you before bed, it's sweeter and easier for your body to process the lactose!
Fats contribute to the viscosity of the milk. Of course, milk is purchased based on the quantity of fat it contains. At our shops, we serve 1% and 3.25% milks. We've chosen not to offer Skim milk because without fat content, the steam integrates into the milk and, thus, greatly changes the texture.
Proteins are the reason we're able to change the consistency of milk through the addition of steam. When proper steaming techniques are used, the proteins will entrap little air bubbles, giving them stability and resulting in foam. When we steam milk, we always strive for micro-foam - a micro-bubble formed when the foam is swirled into the liquid milk underneath. When executed properly, the foam and the milk are bound together to create a homogenized texture throughout the milk pitcher.
We believe that certain coffees have profiles that harmonize better with milk. If you're interested in a suggestion, we'd recommend Tipping Point for a chocolatey, nutty and smooth profile, or Two Wheel, for a crisp, sweet and citric flavour set.
At all Rosso locations, we offer a handful of milk alternatives. We understand the severity of lactose intolerance and the demand for other delicious and comparable alternatives. Although these all produce slightly different texture, sweetness and consistency to regular milk choices, they're delicious and fulfill a space for the dairy-free consumer. Here is a list of alternatives you can choose from at any Rosso location: