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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We chill ours. I figure there's no reason to heat the milk with anything but the steamwand.
Couple thoughts. One, the chilled pitcher would be less likely to develop any type of bacteria if there was some residue left behind after cleaning. Two, with a cold pitcher you will have a few seconds longer to stretch an texture the milk during the steaming process. This will give you a better product in the end. Rinsing the pitchers in cold water or with a pitcher rinser will also bring their temperature down. To see this effect exaggerated...put one in the freezer and then steam. Personally as a customer and barista I would prefer them stay in the fridge.
I agree with Brian, definitely keep em fridged, exactly for the reasons that Brian pointed out. I would like to add, sometimes keeping em in the refrigerator makes us forgetful to clean all of the steam pitchers. Out of site out of mind. Once the foam accumulates around the inside of our pitchers, we risk absorbing any aroma transfer from other products that we are storing. I say this because I know it is the policy of some owners to reuse the milk leftover. If this is the case, I suggest pouring as much of the foam out as possible and only reuse a small portion of the milk.
Thanks Rich. Please tell people not to reuse milk. The enzymes have already been turned to sugar and stretched. You can't get that back when you resteam. The milk is dead. I is like making scrambled eggs...they don't change back if you put the pan in the fridge. And resteaming milk is like reusing this same pan to make more without cleaning it. Some will be old and gross and you are mixing in some new but it is never as good as just starting fresh each time. This is not to scold anyone...just educate.

Rich Abker said:
I say this because I know it is the policy of some owners to reuse the milk leftover. If this is the case, I suggest pouring as much of the foam out as possible and only reuse a small portion of the milk.
Ughh you should never resteam milk. I get controlling waste but the cost to your product is shameful.

Rich Abker said:
I agree with Brian, definitely keep em fridged, exactly for the reasons that Brian pointed out. I would like to add, sometimes keeping em in the refrigerator makes us forgetful to clean all of the steam pitchers. Out of site out of mind. Once the foam accumulates around the inside of our pitchers, we risk absorbing any aroma transfer from other products that we are storing. I say this because I know it is the policy of some owners to reuse the milk leftover. If this is the case, I suggest pouring as much of the foam out as possible and only reuse a small portion of the milk.
Thanks for the education boys 8-).
Perhaps you ought to consider controlling waste by measuring the amount of milk you pour into the pitcher to use per drink?
We keep two in the fridge for capps and the rest drain upside-down on a towel next to the dump sink. If rinsed clean after every use and washed thoroughly (including sanitizer) every four hours or so you won't have a food safety problem. I have no problem getting good latte milk (or even capp in a pinch) texture with a room temp pitcher. I feel like they dry a little better when left at room temp, and its less in and out of the fridge. Plus our bar fridge space is at a premium.

On a side note, your milk pitchers should be immaculately clean inside and out. I'm shocked at the residue and general cleanliness of many shop's pitchers... even really good shops. Disgusting.

Agreeing with Jay and others - no re-steaming milk. Figure out where to fill your pitchers or measure your milk before steaming to reduce waste.
I personally love keeping the pitchers in the fridge, but my cart is not equipped with a fridge big enough to accommodate that preference. I keep our smallest (12oz?) pitcher for macchiatos in the fridge since the smaller volume of milk heats much faster and the cold pitcher helps control that a little better. I agree with everyone's reasoning on keeping them chilled, though; if you have the space you should do it! If not, just rinse first with hot then with cold water and make sure your milk is very cold.
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!
Sarah said:
I personally love keeping the pitchers in the fridge, but my cart is not equipped with a fridge big enough to accommodate that preference. I keep our smallest (12oz?) pitcher for macchiatos in the fridge since the smaller volume of milk heats much faster and the cold pitcher helps control that
a little better. I agree with everyone's reasoning on keeping them chilled,
though; if you have the space you should do it! If not, just rinse first
with hot then with cold water and make sure your milk is very cold.

Hi Sarah,
Do you keep your ice supply nearby that you might be able to store a few pitchers there?
Or, how about a small portable ice chest as a possibility 8-)
Hey Rich,

Good ideas! Unfortunately, our ice supply IS a small cooler; we have to physically walk to our commissary kitchen and scoop the ice into a cooler each morning and sometimes again in the afternoon. We fill it until the lid barely closes to avoid having to leave in the middle of a rush to get more ice. If we could find room for another cooler and time to fill it, I'd be all over that! Ahh, the joys and challenges of cart coffee :)

Rich Abker said:
Sarah said:
I personally love keeping the pitchers in the fridge, but my cart is not equipped with a fridge big enough to accommodate that preference. I keep our smallest (12oz?) pitcher for macchiatos in the fridge since the smaller volume of milk heats much faster and the cold pitcher helps control that
a little better. I agree with everyone's reasoning on keeping them chilled,
though; if you have the space you should do it! If not, just rinse first
with hot then with cold water and make sure your milk is very cold.

Hi Sarah,
Do you keep your ice supply nearby that you might be able to store a few pitchers there?
Or, how about a small portable ice chest as a possibility 8-)

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