Thursday, 27 October 2011

How hot should coffee be?

How hot should coffee be?

We occasionally get requests for coffee hotter than usual, but what is usual?

I'll restrict this discussion to coffee with milk - cappuccino, caffé latte and that peculiar Australian invention 'flat white'. At Cactus we aim to produce foamed milk that is at 67˚C. This is poured over an espresso shot extracted into a warm glass or cup. This is the ideal temperature for milk based espresso coffee. The milk is still luxuriously thick and full, and you can start to drink it almost immediately.

If you ask for your coffee 'very hot' we aim for 72˚C.

You may wonder why not a higher temperature? Milk boils at roughly the same temperature as water 100˚C, but the difference is that milk begins to deteriorate at around 75˚C. This is because at over 75˚C the proteins in the milk begin to curdle and this affects both the flavour and the fineness of the foam. A second effect of overheated milk is that the fats become much thinner, just like when you heat olive oil in a pan it gets thinner. The thinner the fat, the less it coats your tongue, what you will miss is that luxurious creamy feel that correctly heated milk provides to milk based coffees. Aiming for 72˚C gives a little latitude so as to avoid ruining your coffee.

For those that want much hotter coffee try a long black with milk on the side. A long black (also called, caffé lungo and caffé americano) can be served at up to 95˚C.


Anonymous said...


jim said...