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I'd like a hot latte, please


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In Amsterdam, we have a couple of chains, I call them Starbucks wannabes (no Starbucks in The Netherlands yet). They serve all the usual suspects, espresso, latte, a 'regular' coffee they call Americano.

While in most cases, a regular black coffee, is my preferred coffee-beverage, I cannot stand their Americano. It's bitter, ist's too strong no matter how much I makte them dilute it, it's vile.

(okay. why am I going there anyway? because they have one place, near the market where I always shop, and it has the best view, nice people come there, it's on my best friends + dog route to the park so I always meet him there, they have all the newspapers and magazines I want to read, it's quiet and I just love to sit there for hours, reading, working, writing, thinking, looking out the window).

So, no Americano. After ordering all their coffees I settled on the latte, with skimmed milk. It has a good flavor. I like the skimmed milk. But. It's COLD. After they pour it, I could just swallow the whole thing in one gulp. Now to me, that's not coffee. I like my coffee steaming hot. So hot that you have to take a careful first sip, and then slowly a second sip, and after 5 sips, the coffee is still hot.

Their latte is lukewarm. I ask for a hot latte. They preheat the cup, which helps a bit, and then I ask them to make the milk extra hot. They do this, but it does not help much. I ask for extra extra hot milk. And then they tell me that they are not supposed to heat the milk above 150 F. That it will ruin the flavor of the milk. I go home and look this up online and yes, they seem to be right.

So. Should I stop annoying them and ask for hot latte? Does nobody else care about drinking lukewarm latte? Am I missing the latte-point? Should I just learn to drink their black coffee (which is hot)?

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I just posted about coffee frustration in the "food purist" thread

a latte (I believe) is an upside down cappucino and should be made with steamed milk ..steamed very hot ...poured in a cup then a shot of espresso on top...Starbucks is awful you are not miss out on anything ...

if the are making a luke warm latte I can understand your frustration ...

nothing like a good hot cup of coffee!!!

Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)
why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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a latte (I believe) is an upside down cappucino and should be made with steamed milk ..

only to clarify (not to steer this way off topic) but....

actually, I don't think it's an upside cappuccino - the difference between the two is the amount of milk and foam that's added to the espresso (more in a capp). I don't drink coffee...but I'm sure someone else can give you a more precise answer on the amount of milk for each.

52 martinis blog

@52martinis

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no it is true there is more milk in a latte but the steamed milk is put in the cup first then the shot is put on top ..and with a cappucino (yes less milk) milk is added after the shot is put in the cup ..my son was a Barrista for a while and this is how he explained it to me ..but who knows ...I drink brewed or pressed coffee so I don't claim to be an expert...I just know either way they should be hot!

why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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Actually, Dave, that's what I'd call an American-style "latte art" latte -- a thing unto itself.

In Italy, if you order latte macchiato you're usually going to get a tallish glass filled with not-particularly-hot steamed milk into which a dab of espresso has been poured at the end, making the whole thing vaguely tan.

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Actually, Dave, that's what I'd call an American-style "latte art" latte -- a thing unto itself.

In Italy, if you order latte macchiato you're usually going to get a tallish glass filled with not-particularly-hot steamed milk into which a dab of espresso has been poured at the end, making the whole thing vaguely tan.

I don't disagree with you, but cafes in the states serve American style lattes. The Italian latte macchiato isn't nearly as popular in Italian cafes as American style lattes are in American cafes.

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Actually, Dave, that's what I'd call an American-style "latte art" latte -- a thing unto itself.

In Italy, if you order latte macchiato you're usually going to get a tallish glass filled with not-particularly-hot steamed milk into which a dab of espresso has been poured at the end, making the whole thing vaguely tan.

I don't disagree with you, but cafes in the states serve American style lattes. The Italian latte macchiato isn't nearly as popular in Italian cafes as American style lattes are in American cafes.

and this American style latte is supposed to be lukewarm? or is there a way to make a steaming hot latte with milk that has not been heated over 160F?

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and this American style latte is supposed to be lukewarm? or is there a way to make a steaming hot latte with milk that has not been heated over 160F?

If you consider 140-155*F to be lukewarm, then yes. Milk based drinks in general are served colder than 160*F.

edit: formating

Edited by melkor (log)
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Actually, Dave, that's what I'd call an American-style "latte art" latte -- a thing unto itself.

In Italy, if you order latte macchiato you're usually going to get a tallish glass filled with not-particularly-hot steamed milk into which a dab of espresso has been poured at the end, making the whole thing vaguely tan.

I don't disagree with you, but cafes in the states serve American style lattes. The Italian latte macchiato isn't nearly as popular in Italian cafes as American style lattes are in American cafes.

Right. But I figure that, in Amsterdam, she's getting an Italian-style treatment.

and this American style latte is supposed to be lukewarm? or is there a way to make a steaming hot latte with milk that has not been heated over 160F?

70C is pretty warm, I'd say. If you're getting latte that seems lukewarm to me, I have to believe that it's significantly cooler than that.

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Actually, Dave, that's what I'd call an American-style "latte art" latte -- a thing unto itself.

In Italy, if you order latte macchiato you're usually going to get a tallish glass filled with not-particularly-hot steamed milk into which a dab of espresso has been poured at the end, making the whole thing vaguely tan.

I don't disagree with you, but cafes in the states serve American style lattes. The Italian latte macchiato isn't nearly as popular in Italian cafes as American style lattes are in American cafes.

Right. But I figure that, in Amsterdam, she's getting an Italian-style treatment.

Don't be too sure! I've been to Italy and I've been to the US. This really is a Starbucks clone. And they TRY the latte art but they're horrible at it :laugh:

and this American style latte is supposed to be lukewarm? or is there a way to make a steaming hot latte with milk that has not been heated over 160F?

70C is pretty warm, I'd say. If you're getting latte that seems lukewarm to me, I have to believe that it's significantly cooler than that.

I guess I just have a high heat tolerance. I now ask them to take out the little thermometer, stick it in the milk and heat the milk to 90 C. This gives me a hot latte & sullen looks from the barista person. I go and sit in my corner and sip my hothot coffee, and I'm happy.

Now I know I'm wrong, but that won't stop me from ordering it that way.

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I guess I just have a high heat tolerance. I now ask them to take out the little thermometer, stick it in the milk and heat the milk to 90 C. This gives me a hot latte & sullen looks from the barista person. I go and sit in my corner and sip my hothot coffee, and I'm happy.

Now I know I'm wrong, but that won't stop me from ordering it that way.

So, you are getting what you want. Keep ordering it. This will stand you in good stead when Starbucks arrives (although why anyone would want that over the ambiance of a good Amsterdam Cafe, I don't know). It is one thing to use a half-dozen adjectives for your espresso order, but a real master asks for the exact temperature rather than a vague "extra hot". :laugh:

I do find different places do different drinks better than others so it can take some experimenting.

It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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I just posted about coffee frustration  in the "food purist" thread

a latte (I believe) is an upside down cappucino and should be made with steamed milk ..steamed very hot ...poured in a cup then a shot of espresso on top...Starbucks is awful you are not miss out on anything ...

if the are making a luke warm latte I can understand your frustration ...

nothing like a good hot cup of coffee!!!

Actually, a Starbucks latte is very good. Excellent, if you get one made properly. But, this is only if you prefer an Italian roast, which, for many people, (at least here in the US) is too 'bitter', as more of the oils are released. And, a Starbucks latte is about 165-175 degrees Farenheit, when served properly, as well. That's pretty hot!

One problem may be the skim milk. The fat in whole milk makes it more conducive to a higher steam teperature, without losing it's integrity and flavor profile. My method for steaming milk was to keep the milk as cold as possible, almost to freezing- my coolers were always kept well below 42 degrees F. I also kept my pitchers VERY cold, alongside the milk, in the coolers.

Then, I would keep the steam wand in the bottom of the pitcher, while steaming, until the milk reached almost 100 degrees F. THAT is when I would begin to aerate the milk/cream, swirling slowly and thoroughly until it seemed 'right'- which for a latte tends to be between 150-160 degrees F, depending on the fat content of the dairy. For cappucino there is a slightly different swirl process, as you want as much tight and creamy foam as possible, you would aerate from 100 to 140 degrees, then- well, I'm just getting tehcnical here, I could babble forever about this- let's move on, shall we?

Just writing about this, I'm feeling all nostalgic for those days of steaming milk, I liked showing off that I could control the foam and make such great drinks, even though I didn't make drinks every day. Part of the mystique of being the Happy Barista!

Here is a link to an excellent article that your barista may enjoy reading.Frothing guide!

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Actually, a Starbucks latte is very good. Excellent, if you get one made properly.

I haven't had a good latte from Starbucks in years. Ever since they switched to the super-auto the espresso is usually horrid. No one in there knows how to make the drinks taste good, and the quality is inconsistent at best.

There was a Starbucks near my hotel in LA a few years ago that still used the Lz Marzocco semi-autos and had good baristas. The Seattle location in Pike Place is good too. But the beans are over-roasted. I prefer the Northern Italian roast that you get from places like Espresso Vivace and Stumptown.

When steaming milk, I use my hand as the thermometer. I stretch the milk just until the pitcher loses its chill, then steam it to a perfect microfoam that can be poured into latte art. It's an addiction.

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So. Should I stop annoying them and ask for hot latte? Does nobody else care about drinking lukewarm latte? Am I missing the latte-point? Should I just learn to drink their black coffee (which is hot)?

In the US, ordering an extra hot latte (something over 160-165F) from a better cafe is greeted with about the same disdain as ordering a great cut of meat well done at a better steakhouse. They'll do it, but not gleefully. For whole milk, the flavor peaks around 160. After that it's downhill and above 180, you're talking scalded/burned to the point where it actually stinks. You can take skim a little higher, but be careful that the milk doesn't sit as skim will begin separating within seconds.

If nothing else, it's good to know that this phenomenon of wanting superheated lattes isn't just limited to spoiled US consumers :smile:

And yeah, an Italian latte macchiato (1.5oz to 6oz milk) is about the same strength as a 16oz chainstore latte (usually 3oz espresso to 12oz milk), just poured backwards (espresso through the milk). Italian cafes seem to generally only steam the milk to 140-145F from our experience.

Btw, Rebecca... you sound like you were a pretty good barista. What do you do now?

Edited by PaniniGuy (log)

Rich Westerfield

Mt. Lebanon, PA

Drinking great coffee makes you a better lover.

There is no scientific data to support this conclusion, but try to prove otherwise. Go on. Try it. Right now.

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