I'm interested in everyone's opinion on whether milk steaming pitchers should be chilled (in the fridge or otherwise) before use or not. I've seen some shops keep their clean pitchers in a fridge, others just keep them on a shelf under the counter.

Are there advantages/disadvantages one way or another?

What do you do, or what is your thought?

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Chilled, it is how I was trained by two different coffee schools and the specialty coffee association, I think the milk is easier to steam and I get a better result.
My challenge to those who want to control milk waste is to practice pouring the perfect amount of milk for the size cups. I've gotten pretty damn good at getting exactly 12 and 16 oz of steamed milk with no waste rather consistently. It's a lot of practice and eyeing the amount of cold milk, but it can be done!
I also use cold pitchers, partly for bacteria and, as it seems some people have noticed this as well, I find that with a cold pitcher I typically steam a better quality milk.
I like to chill mine!
so.... i should probably take our pitchers out of the microwave........... crap....
Interestingly, I noticed some competitors keeping pitchers on top of the machine at the USBC (at start-up, never after use). I suppose having a heated pitcher could work to your advantage where time is of the essence.

Also if you were using a "pour-off pitcher" it would retain the heat of the steamed milk better.
Adrian Badger said:
Thanks everyone. It seems that the consensus is: If you have the fridge space, chill those pitchers! But if not, it's not the end of the world as long as you keep the pitchers clean and sanitary. Cheers!
Once upon a time I thought it was necessary to keep the pitchers fridged in order to properly steam milk. No longer. Propper tip (total hole area opening), propper pitcher size for amount being steamed, propper amount of steam (ie how far valve opened) steaming for cap' or even mach' with room temp pitcher no problem getting velvety smooth microfoam.

Can't believe it even needs to be said keeping pitchers clean and never re-steaming milk... And yeah, I pay the bills. The only beverage there's any excuse for any milk waste is a macchiato, and with a super restricted tip and practiced delicate valve technique can even steam 1oz milk in a 3oz SS pitcher for no waste mach'. No bull. If milk waste is high it's do to lack of training and/or lack of employee monitoring for lazy work habits.
It's a good idea to keep them in the fridge, but I think it's about the smallest deal ever. If you can't pour latte art and texture milk perfectly with a room temperature pitcher it's not due to the temperature of the pitcher. The milk is cold right? The pitcher is aluminum. Sooo... won't the pitcher be as cold as the milk (maybe .5 degrees warmer) in like 4 seconds anyway after you pour in the milk? Nobody is standing on a soapbox and preaching about the horrors of room temp pitchers here, so I'm not attacking, just saying... Don't worry about it.

-bry
We've always chilled ours after each use. We believe that it helps with the steaming process. If you have warm pitchers, it will effect the consistency of your milk you steam. Make sure to rince the pitchers out after each use, otherwise bacteria and other nastiness can form. Anything from 41 degrees- and 135 degrees can form pathogens in food or beverages.
Peace.
I don't understand this line of thought - always putting them in the fridge after each use. OK on a slow afternoon, but in the morning? I'd be concerned about your bar fridge temp about half an hour into a rush if you are in the fridge for every single drink. And unless you have 10+ pitchers, I don't see how they are going to be in the fridge long enough to help the bacteria problem. I'm still with Bryan, miKe, and Adrian on this - chill them if you can, but its really no big deal.

And, I don't care what they teach in the SCAA class, NEVER resteam milk (or even hold it for 5 minutes). Just learn how to fill your pitchers.
Chilled, it is definitely easier to stretch your milk with a chilled pitcher.
You got it Heath...the heated pitchers were for pour-off or basically dividing the milk for the two pours once it was steamed.

Cold is the way to go! :-)

Heath Henley said:
Interestingly, I noticed some competitors keeping pitchers on top of the machine at the USBC (at start-up, never after use). I suppose having a heated pitcher could work to your advantage where time is of the essence.

Also if you were using a "pour-off pitcher" it would retain the heat of the steamed milk better.

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