Looking into the rumored Milk Brew
Hi guys - it's Hitomi from Kurasu.
Rainy season is here on and off in Kyoto, the heat and sunshine is a reminder of summer to come soon. I have a feeling it's going to be a hot year...
When I have to work on such a beautiful day, I like to take a break and go to a nearby park, eat my lunch, and take a nap. The breeze, earth, and the scent of fresh greenery are very soothing. Makes me so happy!
Meanwhile back at Kurasu, iced drinks are being served more frequently. Lately, I've been hearing the term "Milk Brew" more and more. I've been wondering what it is.
So you've guessed it - we made a prototype of the rumored milk brew and tried it with everyone at Kurasu!
What is Milk Brew?
We're seeing more coffee shops offer cold brew and milk brew here in Japan. These methods involve brewing with cold or room temperature water, rather than pouring hot water. This means extraction occurs slowly for a few hours or overnight.
Milk brew replaces this room temperature / cold water with milk to extract the coffee. It gives a different flavor to the coffee compared to a typical milk based coffee drink such as iced latte or iced cafe au lait!
Our attempt to Milk Brew
There are a few ways of making milk brew, and we’ve tried the following three.
(1) Extraction by directly steeping coffee in milk.
(2) Use our cold brew packets to extract and strain it through a paper filter.
(3) Use commercially available tea filter pack and strain through a paper filter.
- Directly steeping coffee with milk
Of these three methods, I found that the taste of the coffee was the strongest. Without grind size going too fine, a medium to medium coarse grind gave good enough extraction. It’s time saved as well as the brew only takes a few hours after prepping. The downside was when using medium roasted coffee, the aftertaste was a bit too strong which didn’t match well with milk. Flavor test worked better and matched well with light roast beans.
- Kurasu cold brew packet
The Kurasu tea pack we use for cold brew is a little thicker than other tea brewing packs on the market, and it is very good for making a clean taste without any fine grinds when using it for cold brew. But depending on the grind, beans, and recipe, I found it was difficult to brew milk brew.
If you grind coffee very fine, you can get some extraction but with negative flavors as well. The amount of coffee I ended up using was more then want I wanted in a realistic recipe.
Flavor wise, the milk brew gave mostly milk with just a hint of coffee.
- Store bought tea packet
Lastly, I used a store -bought tea packet readily sold in Japanese supermarkets.
This extracted the best balance of flavors!
The balance of coffee and milk was very good, sweet and mellow.
There will be some fine grinds in the brew, but you can strain it through a paper filter. This will give better texture.
I had our Kurasu staff taste test the milk brew. Comparing it to café au lait or latte, the best feature of milk brew was its texture!
Nice and heavy body. Even without any sugar, it's naturally very sweet. We felt the sweetness of the milk balanced very well. Reminds me of English milk tea but with coffee. There was a difference in preference between using light roast and medium dark roast coffee. With light roast, we really loved the sweet, delicate flavors. The medium roast had good balance and more coffee flavors. There were also a few comments that it tasted similar to coffee liqueur.
If you want to make it at home, I recommend the methods of (1) and (3). The flavors really change depending on the coffee so have fun trying with different origins!
Milk brew is really easy and delicious, let’s go over our recipe!
Beans of your choice - 35g medium-dark roast, 40g light roast
(This time I used medium-dark roast: House Blend Dark, Light roast: Ethiopia Kelloo)
Grind: medium (Light roast), medium-coarse (medium-dark roast)
1) Extract by steeping coffee beans directly into milk
Put the ground coffee beans into a bottle or a server (larger the 500g capacity)
Pour the milk while measuring the weight.
Here’s what it looks like when pouring.
Put it in the refrigerator and let it steep overnight.
This time I left it for around 16 hours, but a slightly shorter extraction time would work fine too.
When I took it out of the refrigerator the next day, it looked like this.
Set the paper filter in a coffee dripper and strain the coffee powder.
When it's all strained, it's done! Easy!
3) Brewing with a commercial tea pack
Put the ground coffee beans into the tea pack and turn the cloth over to close.
The tea pack we had was a bit too small, so I divided it into two.
Right: House Blend Dark
Place the coffee packets into a bottle or server.
Pour the milk over the top while measuring.
Place in the refrigerator to steep overnight.
The finished product looks like this.
This is what it looks like inside.
When you take out the coffee packets, you may be tempted to squeeze the packets before taking them out, but don't!
You will end up with extracting negative flavors which will lead to a bad aftertaste.
After removing the coffee pack, set the paper filter in the coffee dripper and strain the coffee powder.
It’ll take a while to strain everything out so be patient. If it clogges, you can change the filter or stop whenever you feel comfortable.
What do you think? It's easier than I imagined.
It's delicious just as it is, but when I tried it over ice cream like an affogato... it was so delicious :'(
I think it would also be delicious over granola.
I hope you'll try making a different kind of milk brew this summer!