Perfect milk temperature for cappuccino


Learning how to properly whip milk to the perfect temperature is one of the essential skills of every barista. After all, coffee just looks good with milk! As early as the 16th century, there are references to combining coffee and milk into one delicious drink. Such coffee takes many forms due to the ratio in which coffee and milk are combined in the cup. In general, however, any coffee with milk can be calleda white coffee, whether it is a cappuccino, flat white or latte.

There are many ways to get a warm milk froth. You can use a manual or automatic milk frother or perhaps froth milk in a French press. In a pinch, you can also use a resealable jar and a microwave. However, most often and in all cafes, milk is whipped on the steam nozzle of the coffee machine. This route is the most efficient, fastest and with the best quality results. In fact, right from the first types of espresso machines, the steam nozzle system was incorporated into their manufacture.


Working with the steam nozzle, whisking the milk and pouring it into the coffee are essential barista skills. As such, or as part of thelatte art technique, they are part of barista courses. This is where baristas learn that thecorrect temperature of milk for a cappuccino or latte is 60 °C (+/- 5 °C). Why so much and what effect does it have on the final coffee?


When we froth milk, we push water vapour and air into the milk while we heat it. Milk is made up of hundreds of chemical compounds, and two groups of these compounds are vital to the success of your froth. They are proteins (proteins) and fats.

Milk contains caseins and whey proteins. When heated, theproteinswill denature. This means that they change their original form and form anareaaround the ball of air (forced into the milk by the steam nozzle) which then transforms into bubbles. So in our coffee we create the desired foam structure.

The other important component of milk for frothing is fat. The fats actually destabilize the milk foam. If we want the biggest possible hill of bubbly foam, then it would be best to use skim milk, in terms of the physical aspect of frothing. The practical downside is that such foam is dry and we wouldn't even like the taste of such coffee. Thefats are responsible for the taste and that velvety creamy feeling when drinking our cappuccino.


To make a perfect cappuccino, our milk must have a certain "frothiness" as well as smoothness and complexity. We achieve this by usingthe right whisking technique, which takes into account the destabilising factor of fats and the ability of proteins to form foam. The destabilising effect of fats on air bubbles in milk is most pronounced at temperatures between 10 and 40 °C.

Heating dissolves the fat globules. Thus, at milk temperatures above 45 °C the foam has a better chance of being retained. It ismost stable at 65 °C (using whole milk). The same temperature for whipping milk is recommended by the SCA. Which, based on chemical research for heating milk, lists theideal temperature for heating milk at 55 - 65 °C, with a minimum of 50 °C and a maximum of 70 °C.


What happens when you try to make milk foam at a lower than recommended temperature? If you whip the milk at 30-40 °C, it will be unstable. This means that the resulting foam will be thin and you will see different sizes of air bubbles coming together. Why is that?

At this low temperature, protein denaturation is just beginning and the fats haven't melted yet. Thesolid fat globules disrupt the structure of the unevenly forming foam. Sometimes the displacement of the protein by the fat will cause the fragile air bubbles to join together. With the low viscosity of milk at this temperature, such foam does not have a long life.


As we discussed a few paragraphs above, higher temperatures that promote protein denaturation are preferable for milk foam stability. Overheating will also reduce the viscosity of the milk, making it less thick and, in turn, more watery. Overheating milk significantly affects its taste. Making a coffee drink from such milk will make it impossible to enjoy the subtle flavours of coffee.

Of course, the high temperature of the milk means the temperature of your cappuccino is high and you may burn your mouth when you take your first sip. Such milk, as we can know from our own experience of heating milk at home and burning it, tastes and "smells" burnt, sulphurous, well, just unpleasant.

Occasionally, a customer in a café will directly ask for extra hot milk in their drink. Because he likes his coffee really brewing. In this case, the ideal solution is to satisfy the customer with the right milk whipping technology and keep the milk temperature at a maximum of 70 °C.

Too hot milk can prevent you from enjoying the taste of your coffee. Image source:


  1. Theideal and recommended temperature for whisking milk is 55 - 65 °C. At this stage, the fats are hot enough to melt into a liquid form and not ruin the foam.
  2. At the same time , atemperature of around 60 °Cis justright for the transformation - denaturation - of the proteins, which trap air bubbles and form a stable foam.
  3. By keeping the temperature below the maximum 70 °C, the barista avoids unpleasant tastes and the smell of burnt milk. The lactose reaction that causes browning and burnt aftertaste will not occur.
  4. Our taste receptors perceive the sweetness of foods best at 60 °C. This temperature is the most suitable for tracing the widest range of flavours in coffee and especially for enjoying the sweetness of your cappuccino.
  5. Theperfect balance of the foam-influencing properties of the proteins and fats in the milk is due to the correct heating. When you do this, you get a finely shaped and stable foam in the pot that combines perfectly with your coffee to make the perfect cappuccino, latte or whatever milky coffee drink you love.
  6. Use the thermometerto check the ideal temperature of the whipped milk .
  7. When using the steam nozzle of your coffee maker, remember to keep it clean. Wipe it witha cloth immediately after whisking. A barista apron will protect your clothes from the sizzling milk.

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