Posted Fri Feb 4, 2011, 2:03pm Subject: The milk brand DOES make a difference
Just wanted to let those who are having difficulties know that the type/brand of milk you use is VERY important.
After about 2 months (and about 100 attempts) of using my new grinder and machine, I made my first latte art. I got to where I could do it about better than 75% of the time. However, I used a different brand of whole milk about 2 weeks ago and I seemed to have real difficulty with the art. And then I decided to try one of those milks which comes in a real glass bottle (expensive). Absolutely NO latte art from it. I then went back to my good friend, Horizon Organic Whole Milk, and voila! I am back making latte art.
So, for those having difficulty, definitely keep trying different brands of milk. I seem to only be able to make great latte art with Horizon Organic. Perhaps I could figure out a different technique with those other milks, but I certainly couldn't figure it out using the below technique.
My technique never changed between the 3 brands. I use a Gaggia Baby Twin, pre-heat machine for 30 minutes, put 5 oz. of milk in a 12 oz Update brand latte pitcher (kept in the freezer). I stretch to about 80-85F. I then steam to about 140F before turning the steam off (it overshoots to about 150). The Baby Twin is not known for good steam, so it takes a good 40 seconds from start to finish. I then continue swirling the finished microfoam while I then pull the espresso shot.
Posted Sat Feb 5, 2011, 9:39pm Subject: Re: The milk brand DOES make a difference
I've commended on this very topic in a few recent threads here as well with a similar story. Glad to see I'm not insane with it! Some supermarket brand milk is clearly evil (and lacking in protein.) Though note that it's been said organic milks vary in composition/properties by season sometimes...so watch out at various times of the year!
TomChips Senior Member Joined: 19 Oct 2008 Posts: 69 Location: San Francisco Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: Alex Duetto II Grinder: K30 Vario/Mazzer Super Jolly Drip: Tecnivorm Mochamaster-Hario Roaster: Behmoor 1600+ Freshroast
Posted Mon Jun 20, 2011, 6:57am Subject: Re: The milk brand DOES make a difference
Bumping an old thread, but I must say, I did a blind taste test of my local mass produced milk ( Bayview) and Horizon Organic as well as one other Organic, all whole milks, and was amazed at how much better the Horizon tasted. Mouthfeel, everything. So, that one's settled.
llopness Senior Member Joined: 6 Jul 2011 Posts: 32 Location: York, NY Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: La Pavoni Professional Grinder: Rancilio Rocky Roaster: Popcorn Popper
Posted Fri Aug 5, 2011, 11:06am Subject: Re: The milk brand DOES make a difference
I've found that latte art is super easy with fresh milk from our goat. unfortunately I'm allergic to goats milk so I only make that for my dad. I've been using Wegman's(supermarket brand) whole lactose free milk. I'll have to try a few other brands.
TheExodu5 Senior Member Joined: 21 Aug 2011 Posts: 6 Location: Ottawa, ON Expertise: Just starting
Posted Wed Aug 24, 2011, 9:49pm Subject: Re: The milk brand DOES make a difference
I'm not into latte art (yet), but I am using the cheap little Capresso FrothPro automatic frother. I thought the machine was broken at first...Sealtest 1% milk did not froth whatsoever. I could leave it in the machine for 20 minutes and it wouldn't froth. Tried another supermarket brand today (Dairyland), and it frothed just fine.
caffeinatedjen Senior Member Joined: 28 Dec 2004 Posts: 297 Location: michigan Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Bezzera B707 Grinder: Mazzer Mini Roaster: Behmor
Posted Sat Sep 10, 2011, 7:27pm Subject: Re: The milk brand DOES make a difference
Have any of you tried non-homogenized milk? I got some from a local dairy that makes great ice cream, and didn't even notice it wasn't homogenized until it was almost gone, the printing on the label was kind of small. I had a really hard time making decent microfoam with it, but I'm still having a hard time a lot of the time anyways with my new Bezzera. I got some more and I will shake it up every time before I use any and see if that helps. It tasted really good in my cappas so I thought it might be worth another try. It is pasteurized, just not homogenized.
Posted Thu Sep 29, 2011, 7:45am Subject: Re: The milk brand DOES make a difference
My experience definitely supports this idea.
I own an Elektra Microcasa Semiautomatica, a machine famous its effortless frothing ability. Great microfoam each and every time was a forgone conclusion with every cappuccino--until it suddenly wasn't. One morning this past spring, my regular frothing routine refused to produce a good microfoam. I had made no changes to any part of my procedure and had always used the same whole milk from Garelick Farms, a widely distributed "all-natural" (not organic) brand in my part of New England.
I tried everything to resolve this, including cleaning and descaling the machine, and disassembling and cleaning the steam path. I finally switched to organic, whole milk, both Horizon and another brand available locally. Problem solved, instantly, just like that. Back to microfoam nirvana.
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