I heard someone during the week asking for this type of latte coffee. They wanted a “large skimmed, extra wet, extra hot latte”. What the hell is that, I asked the barista once the lady had been served. She told me “I gave her a hot latte”! I did chuckle but it got me thinking about what it was that the customer was really looking for.
So breaking down the drink, firstly the milk element. All mammals produce milk as a means of nutrition for the young. Around 87% of milk is water, then it’s made up of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Milk for our daily coffees generally comes from cows, although these days a wide choice is available depending on requirement and health. It doesn’t even have to be milk as we know it as alternatives are available. The customer requested Skimmed milk. This is done by separating the fat content out by spinning in what’s called a centrifugal separator. The remaining liquid contains an average of only 0.1% fat content once it’s spun through this process. Compare this to whole or full fat milk which contains 3.5% fats.
Second part of the lady’s drink choice. Extra Wet? Ever wondered what this is all about? Wet & dry are terms describing how much foam is present in the drink and as far as I’m aware only relevant to cappuccinos and introduced by the Americans.
“Wet” has more milk and less foam than a “dry” beverage that will contain pretty much all foam. Extra wet I am struggling with, so assuming she wanted a large cup of hot semi skimmed milk!
The finished Latte
Finally, she wanted it extra hot. I can only guess she had a long drive ahead of her and wanted to give the drink to someone else when she arrived! Burnt milk smells bad and tastes bad. To get the best from the espresso the milk really should be at 70 degrees Celsius, allowing the proteins and sweetness to enhance the espresso and allow good foam to form for a great end result.
The take-away cup was full to over flowing, the lady then added a couple of sugar to it, which I found ironic. She then gave the steaming liquid a stir, put a lid on it, grabbed a sleeve to ensure she did not blister her hand and off she went! Most bizarre!
It’s all subjective and the customer is always right apparently. I can understand why the barista gave her a latte. Did the customer know what she wanted or was it the barista knowing the customers’ needs better?
Whether its Almond, Coconut, Rice, Semi, Full fat, Skimmed, Cow, Goat or any other mammal, without milk the world would be without a large skimmed, extra wet, extra hot latte’s and without quirky customers keeping the industry alive.
I ordered a cup of tea!