Even more factors come into play in the processing stages. Your choice of milk – full cream, light or skim – can significantly influence the taste of your coffee. Full cream milk is often the preferred milk for baristas, as the fat ‘globules’ effectively coat your tongue and balance the sometimes bitter and acidic taste of coffee. Skim milk is often considered harder to work with, but with plenty of testing, Riverina Fresh has earned a reputation for its reduced-fat milks delivering a consistent texture and dairy notes in the final product to complement the roast.
The final element happens right before your eyes each morning. Steaming the milk changes the behaviour of the lactose, which can bring out more sweetness – but it’s not so simple. Some milk teases out lactose at a lower temperature during texturing than others, and the sodium and potassium balance can also affect lactose and therefore the milk’s sweetness.
It’s about unlocking these variables and learning from experience. Two milks of the same composition on paper can taste and texture completely differently; even in the hands of the same barista.
It is for this reason Riverina Fresh collaborates and engages with a number of players in the coffee industry to obtain feedback on the performance of its milk. Each batch of milk is stretch-tested before distribution to ensure it meets the standards of an exacting coffee industry. Ongoing testing with baristas means the team develop a deeper understanding of how milk can complement different coffees - it’s half science, half feel. Recently, ONA Coffee’s Head Trainer, Hugh Kelly, was awarded his second consecutive Australian Barista Championship title at MICE 2017 using a customised milk from Riverina Fresh.
Like coffee beans, the underlying challenge with milk is to take a natural product with lots of variables, retain the integrity of that natural product, but produce and supply it in a way that also provides reliability. While there’s no single recipe or solution, Riverina Fresh is working to bridge the gap, constantly evolving to produce milk that’s the perfect companion to specialty coffee.
Article courtesy of Smudge Publishing, Specialty Coffee Melbourne Book.