This may seem like a little thing, but it has become a issue between myself and, well, most of my staff.

The question is...should we put foam on top of an iced latte?

I believe that the foam is a garnish on top of the iced latte. It doesn't add flavor or texture, but it makes something look more like a $4.00 drink then a $2.50

My staff says it slows them down, which it probably does a little. I was wondering if there is a industry standard. Any opinions out there?

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Jordan-
As a trained chef, I would think you would have an understanding about what I'm talking about. Like in restaurants, one "standard" is hardly another's standard. Even the best chefs that I know have different standards while striving for the same goal: excellence.

Let me also be clear that I'm not advocating my company's way of doing iced latte. I'm not here to convince you to change your methods.

The history of this particular method of iced latte preparation comes from my time learning with John Sanders and John Hornall at the old Hines Public Market Coffee in Seattle. Simply fill a cup to the brim with ice, steam and froth the milk, pour it over the ice, add the espresso and stir. In a few moments, you achieve a nice cold latte with a layer of milk foam floating on the top.

Yes, it does take an entire cup of ice - even if you're not steaming the milk to the high temperature of 160F. That's why it's important to use whole milk with a minimum rating of 3.5% milkfat. The melting ice will dilute the fat ration of the milk but the coffee to liquid balance will remain the same. As the ice melts, the total fat content is reduced to maybe 2%. It is a factor for you to consider with this technique.
Why not use a martini shaker, non-melt ice cubes, and cold milk? Cold foam; only a few seconds more effort. Maybe even sweeten the 'foam' with a tiny nip of simple syrup, vanilla, etc. (if you carry syrups) as a small specialty up-charge.
OK. Thanks for clearing that up. I guess I should have just asked what others "were doing".

I've tried pouring a hot, completed latte over ice (the customer asked for hot, then changed to ice) and I didn't like the outcome. Like I said before, it was a lukewarm latte. I realize that, at the time, I was just correcting a mistake.

I could try it your way, see how it tastes and compare to one of ours. Thanks Jay.
I'm only repeating what has been said before (thanks Jay!) but I believe the most significant difference between 'shaking' the milk and 'steaming' before mixing with the ice and espresso is the change in chemical/texture/flavor properties that results from the act of steaming.

What interests me the most is that this would allow the 'iced latte' to be an actual latte that has been cooled with ice instead of an espresso with cold, unsteamed milk.

For those who have tried both of these methods, have you noticed a significant difference in the flavor and/or consistency?


Jeremy Conley said:
Why not use a martini shaker, non-melt ice cubes, and cold milk? Cold foam; only a few seconds more effort. Maybe even sweeten the 'foam' with a tiny nip of simple syrup, vanilla, etc. (if you carry syrups) as a small specialty up-charge.
I can definitely understand the appeal, flavor-wise, however I've noticed that nearly the same effect can be had with various varieties of milk that tend to be naturally rich and sweet to begin with (Snowville Creamery is what I go with). If time is an issue, as Jordan mentioned, this could be a nice compromise that still gives the desired look —and possibly a very subtle flavor option if syrups are involved.

Now I kind of want to do a double blind taste test. lol
Definatly not, putting froth(or whip cream for that matter) on top of iced drinks is gross. Generally people drink iced drinks with a straw anyway so there not even going to taste it. I was in a small coffee shop once and my girlfriend and i had to tell the barista like 5 times "NO FROTH ON TOP OF THE ICED LATTE!"
I love the idea of shaking the iced drinks. They always seem to lack something so I only order them once a year or so. Then im reminded of why I dont really like them and then spend the next 15 min chewing on the ice. ANYWAY im going to give the "Shaken Iced Latte" a try.
I have always been under the impression that it is a health hazard due to the difference in temperature between the two substances, increasing the potential for growth of bacteria on the surface of the beverage. We have completely stopped putting warm foam on top of iced beverages.
I don't know that I would go so far as shaking the entire drink. Though I'll try anything twice.
I was thinking more so that it would be faster to just froth a bit of cold milk in a shaker and add it as a garnish, as it's the appearance that is the OP's main concern.

Jarred Hoffpauir said:
I love the idea of shaking the iced drinks. They always seem to lack something so I only order them once a year or so. Then im reminded of why I dont really like them and then spend the next 15 min chewing on the ice. ANYWAY im going to give the "Shaken Iced Latte" a try.
Vanessa Barigelli said:
I have always been under the impression that it is a health hazard due to the difference in temperature between the two substances, increasing the potential for growth of bacteria on the surface of the beverage. We have completely stopped putting warm foam on top of iced beverages.

This impression is incorrect. Its all about temperature. If you mix in the hot foam to cool it back below 40 degrees, there is no risk. If you let it sit on the counter to cool for hours OR stash it in the fridge in such a way that it sits above 40 degrees for a couple of hours you have a problem.

The flavor and texture that is added by FRESHLY steamed milk foam being incorporated into the drink is significant. Try it, then decide if it is worth adding.

Shaking drinks is worthwhile. Just ask James Bond (and millions of professional bartenders).


As a side note I'll mention that, in my opinion, a quality-focused bar should not have a pitcher of steamed milk hanging around. I mention this here because I do see this used as a source of milk foam for iced drinks, at least around here. For best hot drink flavor, steam your milk to order, use it all immediately, and don't ever resteam it. Steam only what you can use right away and dump any that remains once it cools.
Most people i know who frequently pruchase iced drinks like to have "foo-foo'ed" up with whip cream, carmel, etc etc...

Although personally, I prefer them in simple traditional fashion(espresso, bittersweet choc, milk, ice) - i think most customers appreciate something that not only tastes good, but looks appealing to the eye.

If you can accomplish this in an efficient manner, than I believe it might be worth pursuing.

The best way to accomplish this is w/o a doubt - using an electric frothing wand similar to the one produced by bodum. It is quick, and easy to clean up. It does not warm the milk either. Warm milk will cause the drink to be watered down.

GL
I do. It makes it look nicer, and unlocks the tastes of the milk. I just pour cold milk over espresso and ice, then stretch like, 3oz of milk. There is a little waste, but maaaybe 1 oz of miak.

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