Many busy cafes serve warm rather than hot coffee. Is there a minimum temperature standard for a barista-made flat white? 

In Italy, where espresso was invented, it’s impossible to find a hot coffee. Milk coffee is always sold lukewarm or perhaps a little hotter but never hot. There’s a few good reasons for this.

Scorched milk lends an unappetising bitter lactic aftertaste to the milk which ruins it. It doesn’t have to get to boiling point to scorch — scorching happens well shy of 100C, so warm is better.

Secondly, the extraction of phenols and properly balanced flavours is a delicate operation. Too much heat or pressure on the coffee will significantly affect flavour — mostly likely it will be bitter, burnt and out of balance.

Taste is better. A properly extracted warm (rather than hot) coffee tastes far superior to a coffee which has been all but destroyed by high temperatures.

Finally, there’s another reason which the Italians (and I too) swear by: a warm coffee is more kind on your digestion and your stomach, which makes the whole experience far more pleasant.


© The West Australian

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