FW Latte Art Keep Cup

It’s the last week of Movember, and we were wondering what it was about milk that gives you a milk mustache.  The simple answer is ‘it’s the fat content,’ and while numerous websites are devoted to debating whether Russian claims that American women grow mustaches due to GM milk are correct, or how to replicate the Got Milk? photos (apparently they use a secret recipe that isn’t actually milk!), no one seems to have sat down and considered the importance of lipids for giving yourself an easy, unthreatening, un-modified milk mustache.

What they have considered however is the importance of lipids and proteins when steaming milk for coffee.  And since we do appreciate some nicely steamed milk, we thought we might talk about that instead….

When you’re making coffee, the quality of the beans is important, but most every coffee shop actually spends more money on milk than coffee.  The two important component parts of milk are proteins and lipids.  Lipids represent the fat content; they’re what gives milk its sticky texture (and can give you a milk mustache!), and they add to the texture of the milk.  The fat content lets the milk to stretch and froth; allowing us to reach the best possible consistency to pour a glossy and creamy latte, cappuccino, or the like.

Proteins are what makes the milk voluminious when steamed.  As you heat the milk, the proteins become hard and trap air.  Aerate the milk a bit and you have a latte, aerate the milk even more and you have a cappuccino.

For more on the science of milk (and some baffling thruway science insights), check out this site.