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Non-Homogenized Milk: An Introduction

Not all milks are alike; right here’s the news on homogenization and the way it impacts baristas.


Cowl photograph by Nikolai Chernichenko by way of Unsplash

Milk is acquainted to most of us. Not only a drink for youngsters, it’s additionally usually consumed by adults and is after all one of many key substances at cafés. However chances are you’ll be unfamiliar with the processing that milk undergoes earlier than reaching the market, and one such course of is homogenization.

The Technique of Homogenization

Albert Straus is the CEO of Straus Household Creamery, a mission-driven firm launched in 1994. They’ve a deep dedication to supporting an natural dairy farming system that’s each environmentally pleasant and economically viable.  

Albert shares a quick clarification of primary milk processing: “Cows produce complete milk with two elements: nonfat milk and cream. Left to settle, the cream naturally rises to the highest. That is what occurs in nature; then, earlier than arriving available on the market, a lot of the milks are ultra-pasteurized to extend shelf life, which includes ’cooking’ the milk at excessive temperature (at or above 280° F for at the very least 2 seconds). These extra closely processed milks forfeit taste and dietary integrity of their quest for an extended shelf life.” 

A small herd of dairy cows at the Straus farms, looking towards the camera. There are brown and black cows standing in a field with blue sky above. The cows are tagged on their left ears.
Non-homogenized milk is designed to be as near its pure style and texture as potential.
Picture courtesy of Straus Household Creamery.

However not all dairy corporations course of milk closely, and as Albert tells us, some dairy manufacturers act otherwise—Straus Household Creamery’s natural milk isn’t ultra-pasteurized.

“It’s gently crafted with a high-temperature brief time (HTST) pasteurization technique at 168° F for 18 seconds. This course of destroys dangerous micro organism whereas nonetheless preserving the genuine taste of the milk: a candy, recent, well-rounded style,” he says. 

Albert, who grew up on a dairy farm ingesting uncooked milk straight from the cows’ milking barn, prefers to maintain Straus natural milk as shut as potential to its origin. They course of their milk with no preservatives or components, and for a lot of the dairy supplied, with out homogenization. Non-homogenized milk is as near its pure style and texture as potential, with the cream naturally floating on high.

A barista stands in front of a bottle of milk with one hand in their pocket. There is a matcha bowl and whisk in front of them, and an iced matcha in a glass.
Straus Natural Barista milk is designed to provide constant pours for shiny milk foam. Picture courtesy of Straus Household Creamery.

To Homogenize or Not?

“We consider in delivering the highest-quality natural dairy merchandise which can be minimally processed, and that’s why all Straus Natural Cream-High milk bought in grocery shops is non-homogenized,” Albert says. ”The one homogenized milks (we provide) are Straus Natural Half & Half, Natural Chocolate Milk, and Natural Eggnog, the place homogenization is required to totally mix the substances.” 

One other exception to non-homogenized milk is Straus Natural Barista, which the corporate specifically designs for use within the skilled atmosphere of espresso and tea retailers.

The Straus Barista milk lineup. Extra rich, whole, 2%, nonfat and half and half varieties are present.
Straus Household Creamery”s Barista line is barely homogenized for constant pours.
Picture courtesy of Straus Household Creamery.

“Straus Natural Barista milk is calmly homogenized, which means the fats is combined with the milk in order that the cream not separates,” Albert says. ”Our barista clients rely closely on the consistency of taste and efficiency of the milk they pour. Straus Natural Barista milk … ensures consistency in each pour and permits baristas to create rich-tasting customized drinks with long-lasting, shiny microfoam.” 

A Barista’s Expertise

Whereas manufacturers like Straus Household Creamery resolve to barely homogenize milk specifically designed for baristas, some farms select a special strategy. In Germany, manufacturers like Brodowin—an natural farm positioned lower than 50 miles from Berlin—supply non-homogenized milks for skilled use in espresso retailers and eating places. Brodowin bottles a completely non-homogenized, full-cream milk with at the very least 3.7% fats that has develop into the reference milk for a lot of the Berlin specialty-coffee scene. They ship milk in disposable luggage made from Calymer, a tear-resistant materials that consists of 40% chalk, which weighs solely 16g per bag and is definitely recycled. Brodowin’s full-cream milk is extremely tasty and creamy; nonetheless, it may be a problem for new-in-town baristas who’re studying to steam it for the primary time.  

Johannes Otto, head barista at Rösttrommel Kaffeerösterei in Nuremberg and Germany Latte Artwork Champion 2020, helps us perceive why.

Johannes pours in a latte art competition. He has short hair and a close beard. He wears a linen apron with smooth leather neck loop. He is pouring milk from a silver pitcher into a black ceramic latte mug.
Johannes Otto, Germany Latte Artwork Champion in 2020, prefers the shiny foam texture of non-homogenized milk.
Picture courtesy of Johannes Otto.

“In our cafés, we work with recent natural milk, not homogenized, that comes instantly from the producer,” Johannes explains. “That is the highest quality you may get. However it can be a bit difficult since you at all times have the fats swimming on high and the watery half under. We get our milk delivered in 10-liter buckets and also you at all times have to provide it a great shake earlier than use.” 

Johannes, who has additionally labored with homogenized milk for latte artwork competitors coaching, can simply clarify the distinction between the 2 sorts of milk. “Dealing with homogenized milk is clearly a lot simpler, as a result of each drop is mainly the identical. However nonetheless, I favor the not-homogenized milk as a result of it has gone by way of fewer processes, which is best for pure high quality, and I’m at all times on the lookout for high quality.”  

He provides, “Each course of that milk runs by way of modifications its pure style, and that’s why in my view not-homogenized milk tastes brisker than homogenized. By way of milk frothing, non-homogenized milk is creamier and silkier, and when correctly shaken, produces a shinier milk foam.” 

In June 2019, throughout the World Latte Artwork Championship, many rivals had been shocked by the non-homogenized milk used for the competitors.

Latte art of a flamingo and a coconut palm tree. There is a little sun in the background of the milk and the flamingo is standing on one leg.
Non-homogenized milk can create stunning foam for latte artwork, as in Johannes’ latte above.
Picture courtesy of Johannes Otto.

“I believe it was one thing new for the rivals and one thing that nobody had deliberate,” Johannes says. “So far as I can keep in mind, it was milk at a top quality stage known as Demeter, which is a step up from natural. This high quality doesn’t permit homogenization, as a result of it goals to be processed [as little] as potential. For a contest the place consistency is the important thing, it’s clearly [harder] to work with, however in actuality the one factor it’s good to change whereas frothing is simply to maintain the stretching half a bit longer than common. The froth doesn’t construct up so shortly in non-homogenized milk. After that, it’s just about the identical to work with: I even assume that non-homogenized milk has a finer, silkier foam construction excellent for superior latte artwork.” 

Johannes concludes: “Non-homogenized milk continues to be completely steamable in the event you simply shake the milk first to re-incorporate the fats. That’s the important thing.” 


Tanya Nanetti (she/her) is a specialty-coffee barista, a traveler, and a dreamer. When she’s not behind the espresso machine (or visiting some hidden nook of the world), she’s busy writing for Espresso Revolt, an internet site about specialty espresso that she’s creating alongside along with her boyfriend.


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