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JAZ

Milk/cream in coffee

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A while back, a co-worker offered to get me a cup of coffee and asked if I wanted milk or sugar. "A little milk," I replied. He brought me a cup that was pale tan in color and had to have been 40 percent half-and-half. To me, it was undrinkable -- lukewarm and unpleasantly mouth-coating; yet another co-worker who got a virtually identical cup proclaimed it "perfect." (I ended up pouring half the coffee out and refilling the cup with straight coffee, at which point it was almost okay.)

Since then, I've been paying attention to milk in coffee, and I believe I'm in the minority. Most people who drink milk or cream in their coffee seem to like much more than I do. I also prefer whole milk; although half-and-half is acceptable, it's much easier to overpour. "Reduced fat" milk is okay if I'm desperate, but non-fat is worthless in coffee. (And forget non-dairy "creamer" -- I'd rather not drink coffee than use it.)

What kind of milk do others prefer? How much? Steamed or cold?

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I rarely have milk or cream in my coffee, but when I do, it had better be barely a splash of whole milk (half and half will do in a pinch). Skim milk need not apply. And, it had better be just a splash, and the milk had better not be cold. I want my coffee with hot or iced.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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A while back, a co-worker offered to get me a cup of coffee and asked if I wanted milk or sugar. "A little milk," I replied. He brought me a cup that was pale tan in color and had to have been 40 percent half-and-half. To me, it was undrinkable -- lukewarm and unpleasantly mouth-coating; yet another co-worker who got a virtually identical cup proclaimed it "perfect." (I ended up pouring half the coffee out and refilling the cup with straight coffee, at which point it was almost okay.)

Since then, I've been paying attention to milk in coffee, and I believe I'm in the minority. Most people who drink milk or cream in their coffee seem to like much more than I do. I also prefer whole milk; although half-and-half is acceptable, it's much easier to overpour. "Reduced fat" milk is okay if I'm desperate, but non-fat is worthless in coffee. (And forget non-dairy "creamer" -- I'd rather not drink coffee than use it.)

What kind of milk do others prefer? How much? Steamed or cold?

I cannot drink coffee black. I must have milk and sugar.

Temperature depends on whether I want to drink hot coffee or cold coffee (=iced coffee).

If hot, then everything has to be really hot. Lukewarm would be awful.

If cold, then everything has to be icy.

I find that compared to others who drink coffee with milk and sugar,

I take more than the average of both. That's just my personal

quirk - I find strong coffee too harsh on my stomach.

I prefer whole milk to half and half (I can't get accustomed

to the idea of drinking that in large quantities). I don't care

for skim milk, but if that's all there is, I'll take it....

The same goes for hot tea - I like it desi style with

milk and sugar, and maybe spices if available.

But the milk (like the water) has to be boiling hot.

I can't stand the way most restaurants plunk down

a mug of lukewarm water, a teabag, and some little

packets of half and half in the name of tea.

How hard is it for a commercial kitchen to provide

boiling water?

Milagai

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Seems to me that the amount of milk/cream in one's coffee has increased over the years. Back when I first started sneaking coffee during coffee hour after church when I was a kid in 1960s, a coffee cup was about 6-8 oz. The standard amount of cream or milk consisted of about 1 T of cream/milk (one of those little plastic cream containers). Using these measurements, the coffee always stayed fairly hot.

The popularization of large espresso drinks well in excess of 8 oz by Starbucks and the like has led to most folks being accustomed to larger cups of very milky diluted espresso coffee drinks. Back in the day a latte from a place in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood was about 6-7 oz total - a shot of espresso topped with steamed milk. Compare that with what is sold as a latte these days.

No wonder your co-worker over-milked your coffee, they were accustomed to over-milked coffee and assumed that is simply the way coffee with milk/cream is served. It's what is sold everywhere and so everyone assumes that this is the norm.

What do I like in my coffee? For brewed coffee, whole or 2% milk, about 1-2 oz per 8 oz of coffee; or 1 oz half 'n half. Sugar only if it's bitter coffee. This amount of milk/cream cools off the coffee a bit, but it's still hot. For espresso drinks - about 4 oz of steamed milk and a bit of foam per shot of espresso. I make most of my lattes at home.

Needless to say if I order this drink from a coffee shop, I have to explain this drink which is not a a modern cappucino and certainly not a modern latte. If the shop is busy, for convenience sake I'll order an 8 oz latte with a double shot.

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Never milk. Half and half or better yet, table cream. About 2 T. No sugar.


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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I believe the reason most people add milk or cream to coffee or tea is to soften the tannins that make them bitter.

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I like lots of half and half in a cup of very strong coffee. I like just a little splash of milk in a cup of tea. I cannot switch these two whiteners, it must be milk in tea and cream in coffee.

I can't stand the way most restaurants plunk down

a mug of lukewarm water, a teabag, and some little

packets of half and half in the name of tea.

How hard is it for a commercial kitchen to provide

boiling water?

Milagai

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The popularization of large espresso drinks well in excess of 8 oz by Starbucks and the like has led to most folks being accustomed to larger cups of very milky diluted espresso coffee drinks.  Back in the day a latte from a place in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood was about 6-7 oz total - a shot of espresso topped with steamed milk.  Compare that with what is sold as a latte these days. 

I would argue that greater milk availability/greater milk production per cow combined with aggressive ad campaigns (like Got Milk?) led to more milk in coffee in the late 1970s and 1980s prior to the Starbucks revolution (devolution). I would add that at that same time, the boomers were entering their prime, post-boomers were coming of age and entering the market and drawing the focus away from the WWII and depression generation used to dairy rationing. I swear my Dad prefers Postum to coffee, but won't admit it and I seem to recall some friends from college in the mid-80s who'd fix their coffee with 50% half-and-half and about 20 (I kid you not) teaspoons of sugar. (not a huge dataset, I know.)

However, I also agree that Starbucks has had a profound effect on coffee consumption and palatability for the masses. But they can't charge $4.80 for a 7 oz. latte. ((Off topic: Despite all that's wrong with STBKS, their proliferation has certainly created a bigger market for coffee and if not for that demand and a minority connoisseurship, we would not have three coffee shops (two of which are decent) and one coffee cabin (none STBKS) in our remote part of Michigan.))


Edited by BeJam (log)

Bode

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As a "coffeegeek" and home roaster I don't like to use creamers of any sort since it covers up a lot of the unique flavors of each origin. I usually take my coffee black but I do feel that sugar can enhance flavors in the same way salt does to food. As an example I recently roasted some Ethiopian Sidamo. I had been enjoying it straight black but after a the addition of a little sugar the berry flavors were enormously evident. It became a blueberry bomb of flavors.

Edited to add, Starbucks is in the milk business more than the coffee business and it takes a lot of milk to cover up a lot of sins in espresso preparation.


Edited by scubadoo97 (log)

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I love drinking my coffee and tea (black) with sweetened condensed milk. It saves me from adding both cream and sugar.

At Starbucks in Hawaii they'll add "thai" (sweetened condensed milk) to any drink for a fee ($0.55?). If you order their "thai espresso" they add milk along with the sweetened condensed milk.

At Gloria Jean's in Hawaii their iced thai has espresso, sweetened condensed milk and frothed milk on top. It's deliciously strong, creamy and sweet!

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If the coffee is good than I drink it black: milk and sugar is not necessary.

However, the lower the quality of the coffee, or the longer amount of time the coffee spent on the burner = more sugar and higher fat diary is added.

I will never go above 3 teaspoons of sugar or 2 ounces of half/half to a 16 ounce coffee. If it needs more, the trash can will get wet.

Cheers!


Edited by coffeetaster (log)

"Wine give rise to dreams: Coffee to thoughts"

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I'm with "coffeetaster" on this one. Really good quality coffee tastes best to me when it's black - most specifically because I can taste different flavor profiles that emerge as it cools off. For some reason the half 'n half laced coffee suffers greatly as it cools. But that fact points to another one - lesser coffees suffer more than better ones as they cool - even when drunk black.

I'll use whole milk in coffee if necessary but prefer half 'n half. As for non-fat milk in coffee? I might just as well use a paste made from talc and water :laugh:

Oddly enough... although I usually (no always but usually) enjoy a 1/2 tsp or so of raw sugar in straight espresso, a traditional machiatto or a cappuccino I absolutely abhore even trace amounts of sugar in coffee - can't drink it that way at all.

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As a "coffeegeek" and home roaster I don't like to use creamers of any sort since it covers up a lot of the unique flavors of each origin.  I usually take my coffee black but I do feel that sugar can enhance flavors in the same way salt does to food.  As an example I recently roasted some Ethiopian Sidamo.  I had been enjoying it straight black but after a the addition of a little sugar the berry flavors were enormously evident.  It became a blueberry bomb of flavors.

That is exactly my experience as well with Ethiopian Harar, an unwashed, dry-processed coffee. Just a tad bit of sugar turns it into a blueberry poptart.

I generally drink my coffee black, but I find that the addition of a little milk brings out caramel, nutty flavors in some coffees (like Brazils). Putting milk into a high-acid coffee makes it taste "cheesy" to me though.

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The popularization of large espresso drinks well in excess of 8 oz by Starbucks and the like has led to most folks being accustomed to larger cups of very milky diluted espresso coffee drinks.  Back in the day a latte from a place in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood was about 6-7 oz total - a shot of espresso topped with steamed milk.  Compare that with what is sold as a latte these days. 

I think the difference was that the 7 or 8 oz of milk in the latte came with one shot of espresso. Now I get a 16 oz latte with two (Starbucks) three shots (the shop I go to) of espresso. So the ratio is close to the same.

I drink milk in my coffee because I had to start doing so in college when I was drinking almost 20 cups of coffee a day. My stomach couldn't tolerate it black anymore. Now I have gotten used to it and put in just enough to lighten it a bit and of course drink a lot less than I did then. But I prefer milk, not 1/2 and 1/2, and nonfat just turns the coffee grey.

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Personally speaking, when I'm critically tasting coffee, no milk or sweetener will do. However, from time to time, when I'm drinking for my own personal pleasure, I do enjoy a demitasse of sugar and a little color of half and half.

However, I did have the recent experience of trying out a new "coffee formulated" milk from a Northern California dairy at the United States Barista Championship in Long Beach, Ca. It's a new processing (and blending) of milk that, initially, signals some very exciting times ahead for milk and coffee.

In the coming months, I'm looking forward to working with the dairy (and hopefully one here on the East Coast) to develop a milk that will help to highlight the coffee whether used straight or in a cappuccino/latte.

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Personally speaking, when I'm critically tasting coffee, no milk or sweetener will do.  However, from time to time, when I'm drinking for my own personal pleasure, I do enjoy a demitasse of sugar and a little color of half and half.

However, I did have the recent experience of trying out a new "coffee formulated" milk from a Northern California dairy at the United States Barista Championship in Long Beach, Ca.  It's a new processing (and blending) of milk that, initially, signals some very exciting times ahead for milk and coffee. 

In the coming months, I'm looking forward to working with the dairy (and hopefully one here on the East Coast) to develop a milk that will help to highlight the coffee whether used straight or in a cappuccino/latte.

Jay - do tell.....what is coffee formualted milk? I remember your mentioning that in your USBC competition, however you never actaully told us what it meant......


"Wine give rise to dreams: Coffee to thoughts"

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I don't drink coffee often - I'm a tea with sugar and lemon fan - but when I do it has to be 2% milk, skim milk is like colored water but anything higher than 2% is too unctious for me. I like to pour in a couple of cm worth per cup of coffee and absolutely no sugar! I like there to be a bit of residual bitterness.

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Spencer- I gave a bit of details during my presentation about the milk. Of course, the music and the audience were a bit loud so people may not have heard what I said.

Anyway, I would love to share more details about the milk. However, if you listen to the newest podcast (70) you'll hear that perhaps I shouldn't have said that much about it since it's still in the formulation stage. With this in mind, I'll have to refrain from discussing specifics until things get sorted out.

But I will say that the milk steams nicely and is wonderfully sweet.

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I'm weird on coffee, I love it, but don't enjoy it black too much. I can drink it with milk (but it should be milk in my coffee, not coffee in my milk), or milk and sugar (amt of sugar I want changes with my mood and what I'm having with it if anything). But black filter coffee with just sugar I find vile. Now I'm wondering about these blueberry explosions...I don't have any Harrar around but someone did bring me some good Kenyan from Seattle recently. I guess I'll have to try it again and try to watch out for different things!


"Los Angeles is the only city in the world where there are two separate lines at holy communion. One line is for the regular body of Christ. One line is for the fat-free body of Christ. Our Lady of Malibu Beach serves a great free-range body of Christ over angel-hair pasta."

-Lea de Laria

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Skim milk is pointless in coffee.

2% is tolerable, whole milk is good, cream is for special occasions & Bailey's is for Sunday mornings.

I like my coffee chuggable, which means enough milk goes in to bring it down to that temperature - which many above would despise as lukewarm. My mom prefers her coffee nearly room temperature. Neither parent has greatly changed their coffee/milk proportions in 30 years.

The amount of sugar (and to a lesser degree, of milk) varies with coffee variety. African coffees in my experience taste better with less of each than our standard morning south american blend. Kona loves cream which is funny because Kona tastes creamy no matter what goes into it.


"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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I'm weird on coffee, I love it, but don't enjoy it black too much. I can drink it with milk (but it should be milk in my coffee, not coffee in my milk), or milk and sugar (amt of sugar I want changes with my mood and what I'm having with it if anything). But black filter coffee with just sugar I find vile. Now I'm wondering about these blueberry explosions...I don't have any Harrar around but someone did bring me some good Kenyan from Seattle recently. I guess I'll have to try it again and try to watch out for different things!

If I'm drinking for purposes of evaluating a coffee I'll always drink it black but when drinking for pleasure I nearly always prefer my drip coffee with some half 'n half (although on two recent occasions I had some stellar coffee from a Clover machine and drank it black).

Last year I had some phenomenal unwashed Ethiopian Yirgacheffe from Ecco Caffe Roasters and it was literally a blueberry bomb. It smelled like crushed blueberries when you opened the bag of roasted beans and the same note was in the cup in a very big way. I tried a cup of it with some half 'n half and it nearly ruined the coffee. That particular coffee was, to me, nearly undrinkable

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These are all made at home...

Espresso: never any milk

Cappuccino: 1:2 ratio of espresso to hot foamed milk

French press: sometimes black, sometimes just a touch of heavy cream

Drip: a touch of heavy cream

Iced: espresso shaken with sweetened condensed milk, or extra-strong drip coffee with half and half


--

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I've taken to adding chocolate milk to my coffee. More or less, depending upon the quality of the brew. I came up with this trick when I was forced (out of neccessity) to drink inferior "coffee" from the office "common pot". It think it's Nestles reduced fat double strength (?) chocolate milkshake that does the job. Then, a bit of half and half if needed...


Pick up your phone

Think of a vegetable

Lonely at home

Call any vegetable

And the chances are good

That a vegetable will respond to you

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As a "coffeegeek" and home roaster I don't like to use creamers of any sort since it covers up a lot of the unique flavors of each origin.  I usually take my coffee black but I do feel that sugar can enhance flavors in the same way salt does to food.  As an example I recently roasted some Ethiopian Sidamo.  I had been enjoying it straight black but after a the addition of a little sugar the berry flavors were enormously evident.  It became a blueberry bomb of flavors.

Edited to add, Starbucks is in the milk business more than the coffee business and it takes a lot of milk to cover up a lot of sins in espresso preparation.

Exactly what I was going to say... I despise milk in my coffee for the same reason that I dislike milk in my chocolate. Dark chocolate tastes of chocolate and, when well made, speaks volumes. Milk chocolate, even when well made, is going to taste muddled because the chocolate has been diluted.

Don't get me wrong, though... I LOVE milk (I'm from Wisconsin.). But I don't like it in coffee.

But when I serve coffee to others who like milk, I heat some whole milk before adding it to their cup. Takes care of the thermal issue...

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But when I serve coffee to others who like milk, I heat some whole milk before adding it to their cup.  Takes care of the thermal issue...

I don't like the taste of warmed milk, which is probably why I've never been a big fan of cappuccino.

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