Milk is a staple food – one that’s always been associated with healthy nutrition. It’s a complete meal in itself for human and animal as it contains almost all the necessary nutrients. Milk has valuable amino acids and delivers potassium, magnesium, fat-soluble vitamins and more calcium than any other aliment.
Milk forms part of Australia’s everyday diet: Thanks to “coffee culture” Australia has the highest per capita milk consumption at 106, followed by Germany and France. * Diary Australia and International Diary Federation.
How do you achieve such a demand when serving coffee within an office environment using an Automatic Coffee Machine?
In corporate office using an Automatic Coffee Machine, it is difficult to meet this demand especially when the market is saturated with office coffee machines better suited for homes other than a corporate office.
As the name suggests, an automatic coffee machine should automatically froth a nice creamy milk by a push of a button without the operator exerting any other effort. The automatic coffee machine collects the milk from a fridge, froths and dispenses it within a few seconds.
The method of frothing however, differs from machine to machine depending on the quality and frothing device used.
As previously discussed in How to Choose An Automatic Coffee Machine for The Office, the two main factors to consider when deciding on milk frothing is the device used in the process.
1/. Venturi – Automatic Coffee Machine
This system is most common and found in a vast array of machines on the market today. It requires only an Air Breathing Device and Steam Power to suck and froth the milk through a Foaming Device. The texture and temperature of the milk is regulated by adjusting the amount of air entering the milk. The less air, the more creamy and textured the milk. On the other hand, the more air, the more bubbles and hot temperature the milk. There is temperature and inconsistency issues associated with this system.
2/. Milk Pump – Automatic Coffee Machine
An Automatic Coffee Machine with a Milk Pump delivers the best, reliable and most consistent milk froth. There are only a few automatic coffee machines on the market using milk pumps.
Unlike a venturi system, the milk pump pumps the milk at a prescribed speed. The speed of the milk pump regulates the temperature and texture of the milk. You can be sure of consistency with this system as the pump speed does not change by itself.
This system has an added advantage over a venturi system as it allows the milk fridge to be placed under the bench if space is limited.
The following Super Automatic Coffee Machines use Milk Pumps to deliver frothed milk.
Coffee has helped milk finally shake off its image as a children’s drink. The two beverages complement each other wonderfully at a visual level – but that’s not all: milk helps make coffee more digestible by acting as a kind of buffer and attenuating the acids in the coffee. The milk fat also helps the stimulative effect of the caffeine last longer by slowing down its breakdown in the blood.
It’s worth noting, however, that not all milks are the same. There are numerous different kinds (see box), each with its own character and constituents, and each affecting the coffee differently.
Alongside lactose and proteins, it’s the flavour-carrying fats that exert the greatest influence. Milk that’s rich in fat helps bring the coffee’s aromas to the fore better than the low-fat variety. From the point of view of taste, it’s preferable to use milk with a higher fat content (3.5 to 3.8 %), even if the foam it delivers is not quite as impressive.
Yet the picture is not as rosy as it might at first appear. Many consumers are intolerant to milk, or more exactly, to the lactose it contains. They lack the enzyme their stomachs need to digest the lactose, and get severe indigestion if milk passes their lips. About 5 % of Caucasians and 75% of non-Caucasians in Australia are lactose-intolerant, a figure that rises to more than 50 % for the world’s population as a whole. The condition is particularly widespread in Asia.
It doesn’t mean having to give up taking milk with coffee, though, as there are alternatives, including lactose-free and soya milk.
Milk can be fickle, and getting it to froth properly with consistency is something of an art and dedication.
So how exactly do you achieve that fine-pored, viscous foam demanded by devotees of latte and the rest when you are using an automatic coffee machine?
It’s the proteins in the milk that create the foam.
The frothing process injects high powered steam into the milk, creating protein and fat structures that wrap themselves around the air bubbles. Whole milk bubbles are larger than those of low-fat milk, and the latter’s foam is more stable. However with a milk pump system, you can achieve the same result with whole milk. Most of our customers like the low fat milk it as it has a low calorie count.
The success of the end product depends as much on the quality of the foaming mechanism in the automatic coffee machine. We’ve found that Carimali Automatic Coffee Machines and Cafina Automatic Coffee Machines froth better and do so more consistently.