Hand blending milk

the business of coffee houses

Hand blending milk

Postby Deferio on Sat Oct 17, 2009 6:25 am

Hey everyone.
So I am managing the bar at an awesome cafe opening soon next to The Coffee Institute in Muncie, IN.
"Vecino's Coffee Gallery"
Right now we are working out an espresso blend for the cafe...and I am trying to decide which milk to use.
-Only organic, high end milk
-Only middle of the road but still "good" milk
-Or a blend of the two
My thoughts are that we cannot serve only organic, local, etc milk for the sake of cost to the customer(we are in an up hill battle as it is pushing progressive coffee in Muncie!) but we might be able to blend a higher quality milk with a middle of the road local milk and make it affordable.
So...my question is... has anyone tried this as a compromise in their shop?
I know Coffee House NW does it but they are the only one I know of.
Thoughts?
Thanks in advance!

-Cd
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Re: Hand blending milk

Postby Ryan Willbur on Sat Oct 17, 2009 4:27 pm

Keep in mind, Coffeehouse NW does it because the combination is really good. I blended milk for the USBC this last year. I think it's something to try, but could definitely complicate your ordering and inventory. My advice would be to first, try EVERYTHING. Start with what is good, then what is available, and then fight for a good price.
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Re: Hand blending milk

Postby Deferio on Sat Oct 17, 2009 6:42 pm

Thanks Ryan...
Believe me...I will fight for starting with the best.
But if I cannot then I am going to try and blend milks.
I realize Coffee House NW did (does?) it for taste. And I have thought about blending milks for competition too...to get flavor and mostly to provide some sort of predictable homogenization so I would not end up with a dead milk in my prep time!
All the milk options here are local. You are right, fighting for a good price may be the way.
-cd
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Re: Hand blending milk

Postby Jim Saborio on Sun Oct 18, 2009 8:34 am

Not completely related, but:

We lined up milk from four local dairies and did a blind cappuccino test. We were surprised by the results. The area's favorite local dairy ($$$) came in dead last. Its cow-pooh flavor obscured the coffee too much, and it was too hard to texture.

Although we don't have what is commonly "known" as the best local milk, we feel as if we can stand behind our decision.

Perhaps the most expensive milk was the most flavorful (it came in cool glass bottles too)... but it wasn't right for our coffee.
-JIm

...aaannndd the Starbucks down the street just got a Clover
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Re: Hand blending milk

Postby jdavidwaldman on Sun Oct 18, 2009 1:49 pm

wow, i definitely have milk envy; ironically, in New Jersey, the land of plentiful dairies, and the amazing tasting Jersey Cow milk, we cannot go directly to ANY dairy as everything is tied up in cooperative contracts. Our cafe and roastery customers are the dairy farmers right down the road with amazing milk, but by the time we get delivery from the commingled/blended product, it's somehow lost the psychological quality. The grassfed, chemical- and antibiotic- and hormone-free "Naturally-By-Nature" brand is produced right down the road. It's amazing in drinks. We used it for our original training sessions 4 years ago - sweet and stable. By the time you get it from distributor (Albert's Organics or UNFI), it's roughly $5/half-gallon with a 4-5 day window. I envy the shops that know their cows by name (Massachusetts, e.g.).
... but how does it taste?
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Re: Hand blending milk

Postby nick on Mon Oct 19, 2009 1:34 am

jdavidwaldman wrote:...but by the time we get delivery from the commingled/blended product, it's somehow lost the psychological quality.

What's "psychological quality?" Do you mean the perception?
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Re: Hand blending milk

Postby Chris Kornman on Mon Oct 19, 2009 1:37 pm

Had a similar experience to Jim Saborio not terribly long ago. While the expensive, local favorite was a more flavorful milk straight out of the bottle, it paled in comparison to other more readily available and less expensive options when served in any way with our coffee. For us, it was a no-brainer. We just went with what tasted better.
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Re: Hand blending milk

Postby Deferio on Mon Oct 19, 2009 3:10 pm

Thanks for the responses...
Jim and Chris...this is what has happened here as well...

We cupped cold, texture, combined etc...even tried blending...
but in the end the cheaper milk won out hands down.
Now I would love the other milks straight from the bottle but the cheaper milk
(which is also a regional/local) tasted way better when combine with our espresso.
Thus proving that one can not have a dogmatic obedience to preconceived notions of what is "best" based on marketing(either from the milk company or from our community)...
one ultimately has to base decisions on the frequently asked question...
How does it taste?
You can make any product "Psychologically" attractive...but you cannot make up the taste.
-cd
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