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I use an Aerobie AeroPress to make lattes. The instructions recommend a water temperature of 175° F to be used in making the concentrated coffee. Since I am making a latte I also heat milk and froth it. The instructions do not specify a temperature for the milk so I assumed 175° F as well. 175° F I have found is too hot for the end product. When I put it in my coffee mug for the day, it is too hot to drink for about 1.5hours after creation.

Can I lower the temperature of the water or should I lower the temperature of the milk or neither to still get good taste and end product?

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What is "coffee pressing"? –  SAJ14SAJ Feb 27 '13 at 14:41
    
@SAJ14SAJ - Sorry my terminology may be incorrect. All I know is that I am using an AeroPress to do this. See the links in my question for more information. –  dpollitt Feb 27 '13 at 16:31
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4 Answers 4

up vote 6 down vote accepted

When making espresso with a machine, normally the ideal temp is around 200F. So I would most definitely not use cooler water.

175F is very hot for steaming milk--for me that would be way over-steamed and scalded. Most of the resources I've found say to steam to 150-160F.

I've actually found that even when the thermometer says 150F, it's over-cooked for my tastes. What I do now is go by feel. I steam in a stainless pitcher and keep my fingertips on the sides. When it's too hot for me to hold for more than a second or so, I stop.

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I tried this. With 155° F milk, my latte is quite cool! Too cold in fact. I guess I'm too picky. But if I move above 155, then I risk over-cooking the milk based on your recommendations. What should I do? –  dpollitt Mar 1 '13 at 19:12
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If you like the flavor of the milk steamed a little hotter, go for it. It's personal preference. If you don't, I'm not sure what else you could do, except possibly heat the coffee separately to a higher temp. –  JoeFish Mar 1 '13 at 21:14
    
Most research suggests that milk actually starts to burn at 150F. Most cafes aim for an optimum milk temperature of 140F to 150F. Before you start increasing the temperature of your milk past that point, you should also try heating the cup before pouring your coffee or milk into it. Just pour some boiling (or near boiling) water into the cup for 30 seconds and then pour it out before you start pouring the coffee. –  leon Feb 10 at 6:23
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Are you adding the frothed milk after pressing the coffee? If so, then I don't think there's any need to have the temperature of the milk so high - the water temperature is only important during the "brew", before the press.

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Correct, pressing coffee, then adding milk that was frothed separately. –  dpollitt Mar 2 '13 at 0:15
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I am by no means a coffee expert, but from what I gathered on my short stint through www.reddit.com/r/coffee, such things can vary widely depending on the type of coffee that you're making. To get the best result, you'll probably have to fiddle with the temperatures until it makes an end result that you enjoy.

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The instructions for the Aeropress state the temperature which you quote, but this is based on taste tests, rather than requirements of the process. I would therefore recommend trying different temperatures (perhaps just tasting the pure 'espresso') and seeing which you prefer.

However, if you are topping it up with steamed milk, as has been said above, you may want to lower the temperature of this first. This will have a much bigger effect on the final temperature of your drink than the temperature of the 'espresso'.

[Thanks for the clarification, Digeridrew; I have removed the comparison to espresso machines]

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Espresso machines rely on much higher pressure than the Aeropress is capable of generating and they do not force steam through the grounds. –  Didgeridrew Feb 10 at 1:53
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