Does Milk Ruin Coffee?
Working with coffee suddenly creates this aura of misled assumptions in which people not working in the coffee industry assume you judge them whenever they speak, think or drink coffee! This is not the case!
The most common phrase I hear from people walking into our roastery is ‘you must hate people like me, I drink coffee with milk’. But where has this hypothesis that milk ruins coffee come from?
Now if we were to follow Italian coffee etiquette then milk is perfectly acceptable in coffee from a latte to a macchiato. The only exception in that case of milky coffee is that it is only to be had in the morning and never with a full stomach. This exception however has nothing to do with the taste but merely to keep a strict daily coffee schedule!
Also only 10% of coffee drinkers enjoy their daily pick me ups without milk! So if the other 90% either have milky coffees or milk in their black coffees then surely that would be considered as the proper way to enjoy coffee?
Well I believe that the concept of black coffee being the proper way of drinking it merely comes from the idea of enjoying it on its own and appreciating the coffee itself without any other ingredients. Being able to identify tasting notes within a coffee and understand the origin and journey in which the beans have come to get to your cup are important to know if it is something in which the drinker is passionate about however, defining the flavour and how enjoyable your cup is should not be forced upon you in a set way!
But there can be more to flavour than that, and sometimes milky is the new black. Some coffees take on an entirely new aspect when combined with a hint of milk. Among our selection of origin coffees it’s clear that some coffees can change or be enhanced with milk. For instance our Panama Palmyra develops a sweet and nutty taste when combined with milk in which is less prominent when had black. And our Sumatra and Santos blend is given a completely different personality altogether!
Nobody judges you if you have your biscuits with chocolate on or if you drink you cup of tea with milk and the same should always apply for coffee! As a barista I found the range of possible milk/coffee combo’s that people ordered were as wide as the day is long: it was clear that getting a drink just right, whatever it is made off, can make a huge difference. The taste of your perfect cup should depend on your own personal preference and if you want to have milk with it and still be your own connoisseur then do so and do so proudly!