General Question

trickface's avatar

For coffee makers, why won't my milk foam?

Asked by trickface (2333points) December 14th, 2012

I work at a coffee shop and today our batch of milk wasn’t foaming properly for our preparation of cappuccino. We asked our manager what was causing this and she had been told that it is due to the diet of the cows that had produced the milk, as if the grass that they had been eating had changed due to the seasons and this had affected the milk.

I laughed at the idea, but does anyone here know if this is true or not?

I googled the issue and found this article which taught me about glycerol, but didn’t mention anything about a cow’s diet being a potential problem.

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8 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

When I was in college my school switched to a haylage system. Haylage is grass cut wet and stored. It ferments and preserves itself. But it also produced aromatic compounds which affected the taste of the milk. It took them a long time to get it figured out. So I’d guess he might have a shot at being correct.

majorrich's avatar

I had problems getting my milk to foam, but when I started keeping my pitcher in the freezer it seemed to help a lot!

YARNLADY's avatar

I remember reading a report that it was a cleanliness issue, possibly soap residue.

trailsillustrated's avatar

i make coffee with a la pavoni, every day, I think what he told you is right. @majorrich is correct, keep it cold.

downtide's avatar

I’m dairy intolerant and so I always have my lattes made with soyamilk. It foams A LOT. You might have some success if you mix a bit of soyamilk with the non-foaming dairy milk. Of course this might not be an option in an actual coffee shop because some people are allergic to soya – you’d have to declare the ingredients before you serve it.

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majorrich's avatar

Skim milk also foams much better than whole milk.

hayhay's avatar

I’ve been a Barista for many years…I was told and believe that milk foams differently depending on the fat content of the milk. The higher fat content, the nicer, thicker, foam is produced…A low fat milk (skim milk) produces very airy, bubbly, foam.

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