You love coffee and you love milk and you love combining the two. You also have a coffee maker at home.
Now, you may be thinking, can you use milk instead of water when brewing coffee?
The outright answer is NO.
In this article, we’ll discuss why that’s the case and the alternatives that are out there instead of putting milk into your coffee maker.
Why you shouldn’t put milk into your coffee maker
Coffee makers use water. That’s just what they’re designed to do. You put water into a coffee maker, which then heats the water up to be used in brewing coffee.
Milk contains proteins that don’t exist in water (of course, because it’s water after all). If you put milk into your coffee maker instead of pure old water, the milk proteins stay in the water reservoir. The milk remnants then start attracting bacteria.
It’s also very difficult to remove milk from a coffee maker. Just imagine how you’ll be able to wash all that milk residue from your coffee. It will be a nightmare.
It’s easier to imagine it this way. Let’s say you drink milk on a cup but you only wash the cup with water later. All the milk residues start spoiling. What do you think will happen to the next batch of coffee you will brew?
Yep, the spoiled milk residue will go into that. It’ll be terrible, not to mention unsanitary.
What can you do instead—the alternatives
It’s pretty straightforward actually. You just brew your coffee normally, with water (and not milk). Then just add milk later.
This way, you’re not damaging your coffee maker with spoiled milk remnants. Even better, you’ll still be able to enjoy your creamy coffee with milk.
Why not use an espresso machine instead?
If you’ve been to Starbucks (or any coffee shop for that matter), you’ll notice this simple elegant machine that they use to brew coffee—it’s the espresso machine.
Espresso machine uses hot pressurized water which are pushed through ground coffee to produce a small shot of strong coffee.
You can drink that small shot. Many people do.
But the reason why I’m bringing espresso machines up is that they usually come with milk frothers. Here’s a picture of one:
It’s that tube-like thing that the barista is using. Here’s a closer look:
In coffee shops, what they do is heat the milk up with these before adding them to the espresso shots. That’s why many espresso-based drinks come with milk as well.
The caffeine content of the drink is determined by the number of shots as well as the amount of milk used.
These are a few familiar espresso-based drinks with milk in them:
Cappuccino is more on the stronger side of espresso-based drinks. Espresso shots are added to steamed milk and milk foam heated up through the milk frothers. Oh, did you know that in Italy, Cappuccino is usually served in the morning? An Italian friend told me that it’s usually weird to drink Cappuccino late in the day. But of course, you can, it’s our coffee after all.
Café latte or latte for short is a lot milkier than Cappuccino. More steamed milk is added to the espresso shots to bring out that really creamy favor with a touch of coffee-like taste. Because there’s a lot more milk than coffee, lattes are usually less strong than your regular Cappuccino.
Mocha is really easy to describe. It’s coffee, milk, and chocolate. Obviously, the ones we order in coffee shop are still espresso-based. They add that chocolatey flavor to the milk and coffee that’s just delicious.
Why not use coffee that’s less bitter?
Another reason why you may want your coffee with milk is that you just don’t like that bitter taste too much. If this is the case, you add milk to sort of minimize that bitter flavor.
So instead of putting milk into your coffee maker, you can change your coffee instead.
Coffee comes from coffee beans. The bitter taste pretty much depends on the beans used.
So, instead of using Robusta beans (which produces a more bitter tasting coffee), you can use Arabica beans. They give a much smoother taste that’s also less bitter tasting. A word of caution though, Arabica beans are often more expensive. You can also use mix-blend coffee instead of single-sourced coffee to give your coffee a more balanced taste.
You can also lessen the degree of roasting. Light roasts taste less bitter.
Another thing you can do is use coarser ground coffee. The reason for this is simple. Finer ground coffee allows more water to seep through, taking all the bitter taste with it. Coarser ground coffee does the opposite.
Why not use more water too? That way, the bitter taste is less prominent.
Then of course, towards the end, just at the milk. Remember at it at the end and not use milk in your coffee maker.
There you have it. I hope we emphasized it enough—don’t put milk into your coffee maker. Just add it separately towards the end. Or buy an espresso machine instead and heat the milk with the frother.