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Latte Art is great, but how's your milk weight ?


First of all, what is milk weight? - It is the amount of milk you’re pouring into a cup, usually measured in grams on a scale.

I see milk weight just as important as weighing ground coffee. Similar to cordial, if you add too much water it tastes watery, or if you add too little water it tastes astringent and unbalanced. The same principles apply to milk and coffee.


Seeing a pair of scales next to a grinder is a comforting sight as a coffee lover. It makes you feel as though the establishment you’re at takes their coffee very seriously and strives to be consistent. This would typically mean they weigh the ground coffee into the basket to ensure constant extraction times and also to weigh the coffee out to ensure the correct ratio is being achieved. But for many places, the weighing stops at the group-head.

Not weighing the amount of milk inside the cup could throw all your hard work out the window. It could be the difference between a good coffee and an amazing coffee, it can also be used as a training tool for consistency.


How does milk weight affect your coffee?

I use the cordial analogy when I explain milk weight. If you don’t put enough water in your cordial, it becomes sour and astringent, when there’s too much water it tastes weak and watery. Adding too much milk to a coffee makes it milky, and not enough can make it heavy, sour and astringent.


How do you measure it?

Measuring milk weight is super easy, simply tare off a scale before pouring the milk. Then place it back on the scale either once you’ve completed pouring the milk, or to be precise, place it back on the scale just before the cup is completed, then add milk for the exact milk weight desired.



How much milk do I need to use?


There's no correct answer to this question. You just need to pick a number and stick to it and adjust where needed. The key is having all baristas dialled into the same weight. In saying that I have some starting points for you, please note this is with full cream milk.


4oz

6oz 110g-120g milk

8oz

12oz 220g-240g milk

16oz


You will need to find perfect ideals for alternative milk as they have different densities.




Do I need to do this every coffee?

In an ideal world, yes… However we are far from that, I believe everyone should practice aiming for a certain milk weight for at least a whole day weighing every coffee just to calibrate exactly how much milk you need in the jug/cup to get the desired amount.

After that, it would be just a check-in every couple of weeks to make sure you’re still in the desired window. If you have an Uber Milk or Juggler you can easily set this up for the perfect milk weight, this also will prevent unneeded milk wastage.


What effect does this have on milk texture?


Coffees poured with more froth will inevitably have a lighter milk weight in comparison to a “flat” textured milk which will have a way heavier milk weight. Putting everyone in a 10-gram window will ensure they are all texturing milk at a very similar consistency.


This can also raise the question, should there be different weights for your flat whites vs cappuccinos? I do believe all milk coffees should be called the same thing “milky” and have baristas focus more on consistency, different blends, and the finer details (like milk weight). Yet this is a whole other conversation and my views might not be the same as your business owner.


Remember the idea is to be as constant as possible, yet we need to think about being efficient as well. Use this as a tool to measure your consistency and a means to make the “perfect” coffee.


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