Milk temperature has been an age old debate amongst baristas and coffee drinkers. We've decided, we're going to standardize all of 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 if consuming a drink at this level. You'll note the added sweetness in the milk as the lactose is breaking down here at this stage. 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 that 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 feint hearted.
Iced; On the rocks. Nearly all of our coffee menu is available iced. Whether it's the hottest day of Summer or the coldest depth of Winter, we should have ice available for you. For these drinks, we dont steam or texture the milk. We'll first put the ice in the cup, milk or water next, espresso on top.
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. So, 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, the sweetness and consistency through the addition of steam.
Lactose is contributing to sweetness of the 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 unlock and the flavour is changed. 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 are contributing to the viscosity of the milk. Of course, milk is purchased based on quantity of fat it contains. At our shops, we serve 1% and 3.25% milks. We've chosen not to offer Skim milk because when having no fat content, it changes the way 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 being used, the proteins will entrap little air bubbles, giving them stability and thus resulting in foam. When we're steaming milk, we are always striving 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.
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:
Lactaid (Lactose-free Milk)